Men’s Health Month Series: Mental Health

In June, we’ll be sharing insights from clinicians in Dignity Health Medical Groups on topics critical to men’s health. Next up is Rudy Idrogo, an LMFT with Dignity Health Mercy Medical Group Behavioral Health.

Rudy discusses what men need to know about their own mental health and what they can do to take care of their mental well-being.

rudyidrogoAre there symptoms of anxiety or depression that are more common in men than women?

Rudy Idrogo: People of all genders can experience depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, but the symptoms can be different in men. Social expectations, gender roles, and coping styles contribute to these subtle differences.

Men may express their symptoms behaviorally rather than verbally communicating their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. For example, sometimes sadness can be expressed through angry outbursts, irritability, abuse of drugs and/or alcohol, risk taking and escapism.

Some signs of depression and anxiety in men include:

  • Mood swings: highs and lows, feeling overwhelmed
  • Anger and aggression
  • Changes in work performance
  • Risky Behavior
  • substance abuse
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. Do we have any idea why that is?

Rudy Idrogo: Each person’s mental health experience is different and there is no single reason for this statistic. Stress, trauma, substance use and health problems can lead to psychological problems for everyone. Men are less likely to seek mental health care and help in tumultuous times may help reduce suicide risk

If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of self-harm, call 9-1-1 right away and stay with the person until help arrives. You can also get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

How can men take care of their mental health?

Rudy Idrogo: For those struggling with depression or anxiety, know that help is available and you are not alone. Your doctor or therapist is there to help you and can discuss treatment options such as therapy or medication. Reconnecting with family and friends, exercising regularly, and showing compassion in a stressful situation are all steps you can take to improve your mental health.

If you are concerned about your own mental health or how you can help those around you, talk to your primary care physician or mental health professional.
Learn more about Rudy Idrogo, LMFT