According to research by the University of Westminster, the general consensus is that men really are emotionally resilient – too tough even to suffer a mental health problem like depression.
In the experiment, 1,200 people were introduced to one of two characters in a short passage of writing. Half were introduced to Jack, and half were introduced to Kate. The volunteers were then asked to judge the mental state of the character they were given.
Both passages were exactly the same apart from the gender of the character. It started: “For the past two weeks, Kate / Jack has been feeling really down. S/he wakes up in the morning with a flat, heavy feeling that sticks with her / him all day.”
21% of the volunteers were absolutely certain that Jack was not suffering from a mental health problem, while 52% thought he definitely was, and the remaining 27% were unsure.
In stark contrast, only 10% of the volunteers were completely positive that Kate was not suffering from a mental health problem, while 57% were sure that she was.
Men were twice as likely as women to think that Jack was perfectly fine.
The report’s author, Dr Viren Swami, explained that views of masculinity representing toughness and strength lead people to believe that men can’t possibly suffer from depression.
Men themselves tend to deny they have depression, believing instead that low feelings are just part of everyday life. This makes them even more likely to dismiss the possibility of depression in other men.
These findings match those from a Malaysian study, which found that men tend to attribute certain events to their low feelings – such as being single, or not liking their job – rather than admitting they might have depression.
The truth is – both men and women can suffer from depression and it is important to get help when help is needed – especially when middle aged men are known to be at the highest risk of suicide.
If you think you might be depressed – book an appointment with your GP and he or she will advise you on what to do next.
Hypnotherapy is commonly used as an effective treatment for the effects of depression. Using specialist techniques, a hypnotherapist will help you to view yourself and the world from a different perspective.
To find out more, please visit our Depression page.
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