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Depression can affect men at any time in their life. Though depression is diagnosed less often in men compared to women, suicide is completed by many more men than women. Reasons for this can include men’s reluctance to talk about or seek professional help for their depression. In addition, men can experience challenges accessing mental health services and health care providers can find it difficult to diagnose depression in men. To better understand men’s depression we talked with more than 120 men who experience depression and their partners.
We began researching men’s depression because it often goes undiagnosed and the suicide rate among men is so high. By researching men’s experiences of depression we were convinced that we could better understand how best to support men and their families as well as guide the efforts of friends, family and health care providers.
Since 2007 we have completed three studies with sub-groups of men.
In this study we interviewed 26 men between 19 and 28 years of age who experienced depression. The participants were attending university and our interviews focused on how depression impacted their studies and relationships as well as their coping and management strategies.
A total of 34 men and their partners participated in this study. Men were aged 19-44 years and had a diagnosis of depression or self-identified as depressed. The interviews focused on better understanding the impact of depression on the men’s relationships, treatment seeking and management strategies.
A total of 30 men between 55 and 82 years of age were interviewed about their experiences of depression in this study. Participants talked about the challenges to paid work and retirement as well as their thoughts about suicide.
Many studies suggest that increasing one’s daily aerobic physical activity can naturally improve serotonin levels in the brain, and thus, promote feelings of well-being. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter in the brain for appetite, sleep, and promotes a happy state. It is also targeted in many medicinal approaches in treating depression. Besides the researched benefits on serotonin, exercise can enable us to get closer to our own ideal body image, which can also improve our perceived self-worth and confidence. Seeing results from regular exercise may also motivate us in other tasks, such as completing a school degree, improving our job performance, or applying for a new work promotion.
Watch this insightful video by Dr. Luria for more scientific evidence for the benefits of exercise: