Depression is under-diagnosed in men.
Why? To start with, men make about two-thirds as many healthcare provider visits as women do. And even when we do see a healthcare provider, we’re often reluctant to talk about what’s really bothering us, especially if it has anything to do with feelings or mood. Plus, most men don’t realize that some of the physical symptoms we may experience —things like chronic pain and digestive problems — could actually be caused by a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety or stress.
Then there are the men who know (or at least strongly suspect) that they have a problem, but suffer in silence, afraid to admit they need help. They may be afraid others will find out their secret and they’ll be perceived as weak or wimpy or that they’ll lose their job.
WHAT AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?
Your mental health can be influenced by a number of factors, including:
- Your genes (some mental health issues run in families)
- Divorce, separation, or the breakup of a long-term relationship
- The death of a loved one
- Losing your job, or job changes
- Going through bankruptcy
- Moving to a new home
- Coping with a natural disaster
- Caring for an aging parent
- The birth of your child
- Being diagnosed and living with a serious illness, or suffering a major injury
- Serving in the military, especially in combat
Mental health and your outlook on life can also change without any obvious cause. Sometimes lots of little things build up and the combination can be extremely harmful.
THE BIG QUESTION: AM I NORMAL?
We all have our ups and downs. But most of us wonder at least one time in our life whether what we’re feeling is normal or whether we need professional help. Unfortunately, there’s no single answer that’s right for everyone. However, here’s a good rule of thumb: You need assistance if you’ve been having symptoms every day for more than two weeks and if those symptoms keep you from enjoying life, performing at work or maintaining relationships with friends, your partner or your children. Untreated mental health conditions can get worse and may have serious consequences. You might, for example, damage your physical health. Or you could increase your risk of doing something to harm yourself or others. Fortunately with the right diagnosis and the right treatment, most mental health problems are easily resolved and you’ll return to feeling content with life and be better able to cope with its challenges.
Mental health is very important to your overall health and well-being. Eating a well balanced diet will keep your brain healthy and functioning well for years to come. Ways in which to help promote that include:
- Omega- three fatty acids found in fish oils help prevent mental decline. These can be found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Omega-three fatty acids are also found in nuts and oils like canola, flaxseed , olive , and peanut . Nuts also contain vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant.
- Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, eggplants, and dark fruits such as berries, oranges and grapes. These have high levels of antioxidants, which protect the brain from free radical formation.
- Supplements like vitamins B-12; C, E, and folate may also help maintain a healthy brain.
- Avoid saturated fats and high cholesterol foods.
To talk with someone about your mental health and well being contact MEHOP Behavioral Health at 979-245-2008 ext. 710.