National News

Men’s Health Awareness Month: Mental Health Disparities in Men 

By Erik Reed

In light of men’s health awareness month being in November, many experts have shown concern for a serious issue, being that men’s depression is severely underdiagnosed.

According to The New York Times, experts have come to a general agreement that men are less likely to seek help regarding mental health issues. 

“Unfortunately, there is still a negative connotation attached to mental health and a sort of stigma that implies that reaching out for emotional support from a licensed therapist or even friend at that, implies that men are not strong,” said Sebastian Giarratana, sophomore psychology major.

A recent survey conducted by The Minaret asked 55 men at The University of Tampa a series of questions related to mental health. The results of the survey revealed several issues at hand when looking at males with depression.  

Out of those 55 respondents, 85.5 percent said that they suppress their emotions. Additionally, 49.1 percent of the respondents concluded that they do not think they prioritize their mental health. Lastly, 12.7 percent of the respondents thought talking about mental health was a feminine trait. 

The National Institute of Mental Health says men with mental illnesses are less likely to have received mental health treatment when compared to women.

Suppressing emotions has been known to create or enhance mental health issues. The American Psychological Association says that this emotional suppression, often referred to as toxic masculinity, poses major health disparities to men. 

“Men feel ashamed and feel the need to project a manly persona all the time in fear of being vulnerable and perceived as weak,” said Julia Zamites, sophomore psychology major. 

According to The New York Times, while more women are formally diagnosed with depression, the illness takes a bigger toll on men, who are 4 times more likely than women to commit suicide as a result of depression.

As the semester is quickly coming to a close, students such as  Abby Valente, junior public relations major, feel the inevitable pressure of academia, getting involved, and having a steady social life. 

“There are always up and down days, and on my tougher days, the smallest things seem impossible, and it’s hard to balance it all and keep up with school work,” said Valente. 

Retrospectively, many college campuses such as American University have seen a steady rise in depressed students since the start of the pandemic, according to the Washington Post

Giarratana said that the reason why so many men may be underdiagnosed with depression is because a majority of them don’t do their research, or do not know what resources they can use on campus.  

These resources open an opportunity for men to learn about themselves and begin to have conversations about mental health.  

For instance, the UT Active Minds club works to end the stigma around mental health and shed light on serious issues that come with it. Active Minds currently has over 60 members and routinely has events that have a strong focus on illnesses such as depression and anxiety. 

Additionally, UT offers free counseling services on campus to any student who needs it. 

Photo Courtesy of The Family Security Plan.

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