Men’s Mental Health

Men are known for bottling things up. However, trying to go it alone when you are feeling down increases the risk of depression or anxiety going unrecognised and untreated. Depression is a high-risk factor for suicide and plays a contributing role to the big difference in suicide rates for men and women.

On average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives.

Men make up an average six out of every eight suicides every single day in Australia. The number of men who die by suicide in Australia every year is nearly double the national road toll.

Everyone’s mental health varies during their life, and can move back and forth along their own personal range between positive and healthy at one end through to severe symptoms or conditions that impact on everyday life at the other, in response to different stressors and experiences.

Effectively managing your mental health can give you significant improvements in your quality of life, increase your capacity to support your family and your mates, and let you perform at your best.

Common men’s mental health issues include:


Many of us have been there, but few recognise just how serious isolation and loneliness can be. Now more commonly referred to as ‘social isolation’, loneliness in its more severe forms is now seen as a contributor to many social ills including violence, suicide and substance abuse.

It’s primarily a feeling of sadness about being alone, but can also happen when you’re surrounded by people – it can be a feeling of lack of connection to the world around you, like you don’t belong and no-one understands you.


Stress is a feeling of being under pressure and overwhelmed. Stress is experienced when there is an imbalance between what’s being asked of us and our ability to deliver or cope with the demands. This causes discomfort and distress and can lead to other men’s mental health problems including anxiety and depression. Although most commonly associated with working life, stress can be triggered by any number of situations including at home, social situations and on the sporting field.

In manageable doses, stress can be a good thing as it can play a key role in driving us to achieve our goals. Problems arise when someone feels unable to meet expectations and their coping abilities to deal with the pressure are challenged.


Depression is an intense feeling of sadness that lasts for a long time, sometimes weeks, months or years. These feelings can interfere with daily life, wellbeing and physical health.

There are several myths about depression that can make men reluctant to talk about or seek help. These myths include the
idea that:

  • depression is a sign of personal weakness
  • ‘real men’ are in control of their emotions and don’t let things get to them
  • feeling sad or down is not manly
  • anyone with enough willpower ought to be able to ‘snap out of it’
  • men should not ask for help; they should be able to cope on their own.

Because of these ideas, men often focus on the physical rather than the emotional symptoms of depression and often talk about feeling angry or irritable rather than sad. They also tend not to seek help until the depression is very severe, if at all. Untreated depression can negatively affect your relationships, your ability to hold down a job, and can lead to drug and alcohol problems.

Fortunately, more and more prominent men, including high profile sportsmen and politicians, are now beginning to talk about their depression. This is helping to reduce the stigma associated with this illness and allowing other men to talk about and seek help for their depression.


The most common men’s mental health issue in Australia, anxiety is a consistent state of extreme worry or fear about perceived threats, that is usually out of proportion to the reality of the situation.  Anxiety is ongoing and can happen without any particular reason or cause.

Although many people tend to dismiss anxiety as just being worried or nervous, it is a serious condition and can be a crippling experience that gets in the way of living our lives. It can have major impact on both mental and physical health.

The good news about men’s mental health:

Most common men’s mental health issues can be successfully treated and there’s heaps of great information out there about different strategies and techniques that can help. Everyone struggles at times – the key is to reach out for help as early as possible to increase the chances of a faster recovery. It often helps to have a chat with a mate or a family member, or if you would like to speak with a professional call your local Pro Health Care and book with one of our psychologists.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24/7 telephone support)

Pro Psychology SA Rebecca Richardson, Provisional Psychologist

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