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Stigma, shame preventing men with depression from getting help: study

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When it comes to depression, men are often their own worst critics, says UBC study

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Men are quite often their own worst critics when it comes to depression, according to a study out of UBC.

Research funded by the Movember Foundation has found while society views men struggling with mental illness in a compassionate light, the sufferers themselves view their own problems quite negatively.

Lead author John Oliffe says stigma and shame are preventing them from getting the help they need.

“They are very, very hard on themselves, to the point where they really don’t want to get help or they don’t feel that they can solicit help. And even some of their self-management skills might be sort of put off by the fact that they’ve even got a problem.”

The survey of more than 900 men and women found more men than women agreeing with statements like, “I would feel embarrassed about seeking professional help for depression,” “I would see myself as weak if I took antidepressants,” and “I would feel like a burden to other people.”

“Guys who don’t have direct experience with depression… guys are harder on other guys than the women. Women tend to know more about depression and are more accepting,” says Oliffe.

Oliffe recommends men who may be depressed be engaged by an activity like going to a game or even simply asked how they are doing.

He warns social isolation is one of the biggest risk factors for suicide among men.