Should I Get Help? And What If I Don’t Treat My Depression?
If you’re like most men, you’ve been taught to hide pain. But hiding depression only makes it worse and can lead to other serious problems.
And there’s really no need to hide depression. Depression, anxiety and other “mood disorders” are common. In fact, they’re just as common – and just as real – as physical problems, like heart disease and a broken ankle. They can also be as crippling.
Although depression is a very serious condition, it’s also a very treatable condition. Left untreated, however, depression often worsens and can result in damaging, long-term consequences for you, your kids, your marriage, your career, and your future. So, if you’re reluctant to get help for yourself, consider doing it for the well-being of your kids or the people close to you.
Getting help is a sign of strength
For many men, one of the biggest obstacles to seeing a mental health professional is the concern is that if others – like coworkers – found out, something bad will happen or they’ll lose respect. Don’t let these fears impact your family, your relationship with your partner, or your future success. Muster the courage to ask for the help you need. Remember, depression is not a weakness of character. It’s a mental condition that’s treatable.
Where Can I Get Help?
Once you’ve decided to get help, the first thing to keep in mind is that research shows mental health clinicians are less likely to correctly diagnose depression in men than in women. What that means is that, if it’s possible, it’s important to find a clinician who is experienced in working with men.
Unfortunately, that’s not always easy.
Below are some suggestions of people or organizations to contact for a referral to a licensed mental health professional in your area. First ask them whether they can refer you to someone who specializes in treating men and depression.
The next thing, once you’ve actually met with someone, is to make sure you think this is someone you can work with – even if that person is a specialist in working with men. The most important thing is that you find a psychotherapist you’re comfortable working with – that will play a key role in your recovery.
If you’re interested in medication, you will also need to locate a physician or psychiatrist – who are the only ones authorized to provide a prescription. (A psychotherapist can usually refer you to a psychiatrist.)
Here are some suggestions of places you can get referrals to mental health professionals:
- Men’s groups or fathers’ groups in your area
- General practitioner or family doctor
- Your child’s doctor
- Family services agency in your area
- Local mental health agency
- Local hospital’s social services department or department of psychiatry
- Friends, neighbors, or someone you trust
- Church or synagogue
“Talk therapy” – or psychotherapy or counseling – is a proven effective way to reduce depression, and to feel better about yourself and your life.
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