How to treat men’s mental health


March 18, 2023 | 12:30 p.m

The crisis of masculinity is real.

Men make up 49% of the population, but almost 80% of all suicides.

Every 13.7 minutes, someone takes their own life somewhere in the U.S. Depression is involved in at least 50% of these suicides, according to the Canadian Center for Suicide Prevention.

Along with medication, psychological therapy can help relieve depressive symptoms.

For women, that is.

But less so for men.

This is because we seem to have depression wrong.

Men and women see the world very differently; their brains are literally wired differently.

And this means that men and women also suffer from depression in different ways.

There was a time when the American Psychological Association (APA), the organization responsible for accrediting psychologists in the US, seemed open to the idea of ​​”male depression.”

As recently as 2005, the APA noted that those in the psychological community “are beginning to think that the traditional signs of depression (sadness, worthlessness, excessive guilt) may not represent many men’s experiences of depression.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the “gender is a construct” narrative began to gain traction and the APA began to deny that gender differences actually existed.

Soon after, the APA decided to label the qualities associated with traditional masculinity as “psychologically harmful.”

Having effectively turned its back on men, is it any wonder that the current system is so ill-equipped to help men in America?

For most of its history, the venerable American Psychological Association has treated men’s and women’s mental illnesses with distinction; all this changed as pressure increased to end gender differentiation.

Which brings us back to the idea of ​​”male depression.” Adam Lane Smith, a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in treating both men and women, says male depression usually revolves around feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.

“Men need the ability to change their environment, create a lasting impact (legacy) and either stop their pain or make it have a purpose,” he explained.

They are less interested in having their feelings validated and more interested in finding a solution.

They want answers and they want them now.

Women’s depression, on the other hand, “centers around feeling unloved or worthless to the people they love,” Smith noted. “Women need to feel cared for, appreciated and useful.”

Veteran therapist Adam Lane Smith says men seek the ability to change the world around them from therapy; they want solutions – and they want fast.

For men, feeling unable to positively influence their environment seems to be a prelude to deep depression.

“First,” Smith said, “they start to feel helpless in those areas, that they can never get out of those negative feelings.”

Then, after a while, he added, “suicidal feelings set in.”

Smith’s words are particularly troubling because rates of male depression are now rising so dramatically.

For men seeking therapy, their main concerns are feeling worthless and a burden to loved ones; they don’t necessarily just want to feel better.

If given a choice, men prefer to talk to a male therapist.

This has nothing to do with sexism.

The data confirm that men respond better to male therapists than to female therapists.

Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough male therapists to choose from.

Almost two-thirds of psychologists in the United States are women.

Eighty percent of clinical psychologists are women.

About 75% of psychology students are women.

This is one of the reasons why therapy fails in men.

Women, on the other hand, want therapy to help them feel more loved and connected to the world around them; this dichotomy helps explain why so many men fail conventional therapy.

Another reason is that most therapy sessions are centered around creating men I feel it better, “more loved and more connected,” notes Smith.

However, most of the time, he said, men feel powerless, “so making them feel loved while they’re still powerless makes them feel more like a burden, not less.” .

In other words, we try to treat male depression using female-centered approaches.

And that probably makes male therapy patients feel even worse.

Which begs the question: what can be done, if at all?

One of the biggest challenges in properly treating male depression is the shortage of male therapists; about 75% of psychology students today are women.

First and foremost, the time has come for the broader psychological community to reverse course and recognize that biological differences exist—both for the physical body and the immaterial mind. “

The one-size-fits-all approach is…[not] it’s going to turn the tide on the suicide epidemic, the drug epidemic, or any other mental health-based problem that’s getting worse right now,” Smith explains.

To get men out of their ruts, they need to not only be made to feel better, but also to actually achieve impactful and meaningful results.

This should be the end game of any mental health treatment.

Because in order to truly deal with male suffering, we must first accept the idea that male pain is often nothing like its female counterpart.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or go to

Copy the URL to share

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *