Signs of Depression In Men: Recognizing And Addressing Them At Work
You've probably heard that depression is for the weak or that you'll get over it. When did you hear your male friends, parents, boss, or co-workers talk about their mental health problems?
Despite being one of the most common mental health issues, depression is still one of the least talked about, especially among men.
Social norms about masculinity or being tough enough not to let your emotions make you feel weak is why often depression in men gets overlooked. It can make it hard for men to acknowledge that they might be experiencing depression and get the needed help.
Again at work, it is important to discuss the same as it can seriously impact your productivity, job satisfaction, and overall well-being.
This article will help you understand better the signs of depression in men and explore the challenges in addressing it at work.
Importance Of Addressing Depression In Men At Work
The prevalence of workplace depression is one of the most common mental health issues, and it is increasing rapidly post-pandemic. Although depression is not biased by any gender, most men suffer mental health issues silently at work due to the stigma attached to it.
Men are less likely to speak about it or seek treatment for depression than women, which can negatively impact their work performance, relationship, and overall quality of life. Depression in men at work is important for the well-being of the employees and the organization.
According to the data from the National Health Interview Survey (2010–13), around 9% of men in the United States have daily feelings of depression and anxiety. .
Prioritizing the mental health of your employees by creating a supportive and healthy work environment that addresses and encourages employees to talk openly about their struggles and seek help is vital.
Here are some of the many reasons that this article will discuss, which is why it is so important to address depression in men in the workplace.
1. Improved Work Performance
Untreated or undiagnosed depression can significantly impact your performance at work. It can lead to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and a lack of motivation. By addressing depression in men at work, you can help them to be more productive and feel safer.
2. Reduce Absenteeism And Presenteeism
It is important to address depression at work as it will help greatly to reduce both absenteeism (missing work) and presenteeism (being present at work yet not being able to work), which are some of the most common impacts of depression.
3. Encouraging A Healthy Work Environment
Although depression is one of the major mental health issues in the modern workplace, people often shy away from talking about it because of the stigma attached to it. Creating a more supportive and healthy workplace culture can help break the stigma and encourage employees to get the necessary help or even help overcome depression.
25% of men live with a mental illness and are three times more likely to commit suicide than women..
Signs of Depression In Men
Depression can affect people of all genders, but men may be more likely to hide or downplay their symptoms. Both men and women experience depression in different ways, and although most of the signs and symptoms of depression are the same for both, there are a few symptoms of depression that are different in men. For example, men might express their depression through outbursts of anger or irritability rather than crying, unlike most women.
It is because of the hormonal factors and societal stigma attached to men's mental health. Often because of these reasons, men's depression gets undiagnosed, or they tend to hide away their emotions or not show any feelings to fit into the social norm of masculinity.
Some signs of depression in men include:
Constant feeling of fatigue at work
Change in appetite with or without weight gain or loss
Falling sick frequently
Escapist behavior, like spending a lot of time at work
Controlling or violent behavior
Risky behavior like reckless driving
Alcohol or drugs abuse
Abrupt irritability and anger issues
Not being able to concentrate or focus on things
Being more aloof or avoiding spending time with friends and family members
Not being able to enjoy the things or activities you used to enjoy
Suggested Read: Health Behavior: 6 Measures To Enhance Employee Wellness
Feeling sad, empty, or hopelessness
Frequent suicidal thoughts
Easily irritated or disappointed with life
Feeling guilty more often
Negative thinking like your life is not worth living
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), almost 6 million men suffer from depressive disorders, including suicidal thoughts, annually..
Workplace Factors Contributing To Depression In Men
Work and depression can be correlated; both can contribute to it. Stress at work is inevitable, and most of the time, other factors at work can make your symptoms even worse. Here are some of the major factors that can contribute to depression in men in the workplace -
1. Stressful Work Environment
Work stress can be detrimental to your mental health and have long-lasting effects. One of the most common signs of depression is feeling burned out or anxious at work.
It can contribute to depression in men as they work in highly stressed jobs with long hours, tight deadlines, or demanding work schedules.
Chronic stress can lead to a decrease in serotonin levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate your mood. Again men are particularly exposed to depression and other mental health issues due to the societal expectations around masculinity and the pressure to be resilient.
Suggested Read: How To Reduce Stress Hormones - 5 Practical Ways
2. Work-Life Imbalance
Lack of a healthy work-life balance can significantly impact your mental health, including depression. When your work-life balance is out of sync, you might experience stress and fatigue, and it can even lead to burnout, which can further contribute to the development of symptoms of depression.
Lacking time for leisure activities and constantly feeling overwhelmed with work pressure can make maintaining a healthy work-life balance difficult. It can further lead to aggression and make you mentally exhausted to enjoy life beyond work. It is one of the major contributing factors to developing depression in men.
Suggested Read: 5 Common Myths About Depression At Work
3. Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
Another major contributing factor to depression in men is the stigma that is attached to men's mental health. Be it societal expectations towards masculinity or the shame of men expressing their feelings. All of these factors prevent men from speaking up about their mental health struggles and getting the help they need.
Because of the stigma surrounding men's mental health and treating it like a taboo rather than a legitimate medical condition, most men are forced to keep their struggles under the rack.
The hormone testosterone is important in regulating men's mood. It is essential to produce feel-good hormones like serotonin. Thus low restoration can contribute to depression and anxiety in men..
Impact of Depression On Work Performance
Depression can have a significant impact on your work performance. Some of how depression can negatively impact your performance at work are -
1. Reduced Productivity
You may have difficulty staying focused and concentrating at work if you suffer from depression. When you suffer from depression, you are mentally exhausted, which makes it difficult to do anything productive. It leads to a decrease in productivity and quality of work.
2. Increased Absenteeism
A person's symptoms of depression may differ from one to another, and similarly, their impact will vary as well. Because depression can make you feel like you are not worthy or that every day is mundane, it might be very challenging to carry on with the daily tasks.
Even the simplest task, like getting out of bed, can be a lot for you if you are not clinically depressed. You might often struggle to get out the bed in the morning or feel overwhelmed by the idea of going to work. It eventually leads to an increase in absenteeism.
Suggested Read: 5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety About Going To Work
3. Poor Work Relationships
In terms of your mental health, your work relationship dynamics play an important role. It can be really helpful if you have a friend or colleague you can turn to if you are struggling with any issues, whether they are professional or personal.
It is also detrimental if you do not have a good relationship with your colleagues. Your mental health can be affected if you are aloof or don't align well with your colleagues, ultimately leading to depression. Your work life can become difficult and emotionally draining if you have poor relationships with colleagues or managers.
Strategies for Addressing Depression In Men At Work
It is important to remember that depression is a serious mental health condition that affects almost a million individuals every year, regardless of gender or age. However, men are slightly hesitant when talking about their mental health. They are also less likely to seek help or treatment because of the stigma attached to it.
So, if you think that your male friend or colleagues are experiencing mental health issues or showing symptoms of depression, you can help them in the following ways -
1. Encourage Open Communication
Most men find it difficult to share their emotions, let alone talk openly about how they feel. But you can help them by starting a conversation about how they are doing and creating a space to show them that you are here to support them.
Creating a work culture where you encourage open communication on mental health and spread more awareness, not breaking the taboo, can be the first step.
Encourage them to speak to trusted colleagues, work friends, supervisors, or even mental health professionals if they struggle with depression.
2. Provide Resources for Support
"Seeking help doesn't make you any less macho or lose control of your life. It means you know when your hands are no longer strong enough to control the wheel. Confidence means I need help.- unknown "
The stigma or taboo attached to men's mental health is one of the main reasons why they don't go out seeking help or treatment. They might not want to go out for support because they might think it is not manly to talk about depression or all the myths about depression like depression is for the weak.
But this is neither the truth nor healthy; you can help them by offering resources, through employee assistance programs or access to mental health professionals.
You can also achieve better mental health for your employees by partnering with local mental health organizations to provide support groups, counseling services, and workshops on various mental health conditions.
Suggested Read: Men's Mental Health Week: Together, We Can End The Stigma
3. Promote Work-Life Balance
A healthy work-life balance can be the key to healing many of your employees' mental and physical health problems. Because of the lack of it, most employees suffer from burnout or even depression; thus, promoting a healthy balance between their professional and personal life can be helpful.
You can allow male employees to have breaks throughout the day and prioritize self-care outside work. Encourage them to participate in leisure activities outside work life and be more engaged in healthy lifestyle habits like exercising, meditating, eating healthy, and, most importantly, getting enough sleep.
It is important to remember that addressing depression in men requires a multifaceted approach, and one-size-fits-all doesn't apply here. It includes proper communication, education on mental health, and providing the necessary support and resources at work.
According to the data from the Mental Health Americaover 6 million men suffer from depression per year, but male depression often goes underdiagnosed. .
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Does A Man Act When He Is Depressed?
Men experience depression in a variety of ways, but among the most common symptoms are anger, irritability, and aggressiveness. Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities due to anxiety, restlessness, or an "on the edge" feeling.
2. Is Depression Curable Or Just Treatment?
Although there is no cure for depression, there are still a few treatments available for minimizing the symptoms and impact of depression on you. Medications and psychotherapy are effective for most people with depression.
Staying silent and wallowing in your pain is not the right way to deal with depression. If you are feeling low lately or everything seems dull and irritating, it might be better for you to pause and reflect on yourself.
Remember, expressing your emotions or feeling low is not a sign of weakness, nor will it hinder your masculinity. Don't let the stigma around toxic masculinity stop you from getting the right help you need.
It's important to remember that everyone experiences depression differently, and not all men will experience these symptoms. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, it's important to seek professional help.
I hope this article helps you to get a better understanding of what are the signs of depression in men are and how to help those who are in need.
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