Men with depression are far more likely to feel strong stigma, fear, and anxiety about their condition than women do and are less likely to seek help because of it, according to a new UBC study.
While society as a whole does not stigmatize men with depression, the Movember Foundation-funded study says they tend to think of themselves as burdensome and disappointing.
The study surveyed 901 men and women nationally, 360 of which had direct experience with suicide or depression.
“While it was reassuring to find that Canadians in general don’t stigmatize male depression or suicide, it was concerning that the men with depression or suicidal thoughts felt a strong stigma around their condition, and many were afraid of being discovered,” said lead researcher John Oliffe, a UBC nursing professor.
The study found 34% of male respondents thought men with depression were “unpredictable,” while another 20% said they wouldn’t vote for a male politician if they knew he was depressed.
What’s more, 56% of men said they would feel embarrassed to seek professional help to treat their depression, compared to 39% of women.
“Social isolation is one of the biggest risk factors for male suicide,” said study co-author John Ogrodniczuk, a UBC psychiatry professor.
“By reaching out, even with a simple question like ‘how are you doing?’ or offering to do something together, such as taking in a game, we can help reduce the risk of self-harm.”
The “Stigma in Male Depression and Suicide: A Canadian Sex Comparison Study” is the first study in Canada to examine stigma as it relates to men with depression and was published in December of 2015 in the Community Mental Health Journal.