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Do We Overlook Men’s Mental Health?

My son told me he wished he were dead recently. As a child, he’s always struggled with depression, but this time I worried that he might follow through.

I listened on the phone to how terrible everything in life was and how he felt there was nothing left to look forward to. After 30-minutes, thankfully, he went to see a doctor and let me know by text that he was taking care of a problem he faced. I felt a little relieved to know that he had taken steps in the right direction.

He is an adult, and he’s being responsible. Yet I still wanted to do something drastic like demanding he come stay with me so I could watch him. Doing that when he had started to take care of himself would be a recipe for failure. In fact, it would push him in the exact direction I don’t want him to go.

It took years for me to learn that when giving your love and support to a person who is depressed there’s a fine line you need to walk to keep yourself from being shut out completely.

Loving a man, who once was your little boy that also dealt with depression teaches you that sometimes a cry for help is better than no cry at all. It’s when the person is silent and tells you nothing that you have to worry most of all.

You might have a male in your life who shows signs of clinical depression. According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, almost 70 percent of suicides involved a white male, and a large number of those men were middle-aged, in 2017.

Montana ranks number one for male suicides and New York ranks number fifty. The most common form of death by suicide in men is with a firearm, and second by hanging. The first male I ever knew to shoot himself was 17 years old. His brother was in my class and it shocked the town.

Mike, I’ll call him, was one of the most popular guys in the area. No one had a clue he was depressed. No one knew he was thinking of ending it all.

If you’re a mother or wife of a man who you know is showing signs of being depressed, don’t ignore it and get help too. After all these years, my son has learned to reach out to me when he feels the tidal wave of dark emotions sweep him under. Getting help doesn’t mean those bouts won’t ever happen again.

For some, depression is a lifelong struggle. Getting help means finding a way to become closer, to show love and to also learn that you are there when he needs you most.

 

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About A.G. Mitter

A. G. Mitter writes about parenting and political matters affecting the family.

2 comments

  1. The article would have been more valuable if instead of talking about getting help a number of times, it gave some clues on what kind of help to get. Although the son went to a doctor, there is no mention of what kind or what the doctor told the son to do. I have an adult daughter with depression. She sees two psychiatrists, one who gives her medicine and advises her on what the medicine does and with his recommendation she sees a psychiatrist who is a Cognitive Behavior Therapist (CBT), where she (and I) have learned about concepts and actions like automatic (depressing) thoughts and what to do to overcome them. In about 3 months she has shown a marked improvement in her happiness and patience with others, and although she has had some bad moments, they are fewer and further between than earlier.

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