5 Myths that Prevent Men from Fighting Depression

MAR. 23, 2018

By Joshua R. Beharry


Depression can be hard to talk about—so hard that a lot of men end up silently struggling for years, only to reach out when they’ve hit rock bottom. Others, sadly, don’t reach out at all. This is one of the reasons why men account for 3.5 times the number of suicides as women. And depression is one of the leading causes of suicide.

Fighting depression is difficult. Not only do you have to fight the illness but you also fight the stigma attached to it. For men, the fear of looking weak or unmanly adds to this strain. Anger, shame and other defenses can kick in as a means of self-protection but may ultimately prevent men from seeking treatment.

Here are some common myths that stand between men and recovery from depression:

Depression = Weakness

It cannot be emphasized enough that depression has nothing to do with personal weakness. It is a serious health condition that millions of men contend with every year. It’s no different than if you develop diabetes or high blood pressure—it can happen to anyone. We show our strength by working and building supports to get better.

A Man Should Be Able to Control His Feelings

Depression is a mood disorder, which means it can make us feel down when there is absolutely nothing to feel down about. We can’t always control what we feel, but we can do our best to control how we react. And that includes choosing whether to ignore our problems or face them before they get out of hand.

Real Men Don’t Ask for Help

Sometimes we need an outside perspective on what might be contributing to our depression. Consulting a professional who has more knowledge of depression and treatment options is the smartest thing to do. Trying to battle a mental health condition on your own is like trying to push a boulder up a mountain by yourself—without a team to back you up, it’s going to be a lot harder.

Talking About Depression Won’t Help

Ignoring depression won’t make it go away. Sometimes we think we know all the answers and that talking can’t help a situation. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Often, things that seem like a huge deal in our minds aren’t as stressful when we talk about them more openly with a friend or mental health professional. Talk therapy (or psychotherapy) is a proven treatment for depression. It’s useful for gaining new perspectives and developing new coping skills.

Depression Will Make You a Burden to Others

Being unhealthy and refusing to seek treatment can put pressure and stress on those that care about you, but asking for help does not make you a burden. It makes people feel good to help a loved one, so don’t try to hide what you’re going through from them. What’s most frustrating is when someone needs help, but they refuse to ask for it.

If you (or a man you know) think you might be living with depression, HeadsUpGuys is a website specifically designed to help men fight depression. The site features practical tips, information about professional services and stories of recovery. It also has a self-check that can help determine whether or not depression may be affecting you. Check it out today.


Since recovering from experiences with depression and a suicide attempt in 2010, Joshua R. Beharry has become a passionate advocate for mental health. Josh is currently the project coordinator for HeadsUpGuys, a resource for men in pursuit of better mental health.


Note: An earlier version of this blog appeared on NAMI.org in November 2016.


SEP, 01, 2018 04:19:23 AM
This book https://bit.ly/2LM26zt Taught me how to fight my depression. gotta try, might help.

JUN, 15, 2018 01:35:59 PM
Talking will help because things aren't as stressful when we talk about them? Nope. Not always. My ex wife wants to move to Europe and take my kid away. She remarried and her new husband wants to start a new life without me in it. He took off to France over a year ago and told my ex wife their marriage is over unless she can figure out a way to join him. I wouldn't just agree to let them go so my ex wife has been trying to lie, cheat and steal her way to freedom. She has falsely accused me of abuse, filed a bogus restraining order against me, and finally turned my kid against me. My daughter screamed at me that I ruined her life and she hates me now, because I wouldn't agree to let them move to France. She thinks I'm selfish. In retaliation for not playing ball, my ex wife kept my daughter from me for nearly 8 months, even though we had just settled and we were supposed to be splitting physical custody 50/50. The judge didn't do anything about this, even though he "granted" my parenting time enforcement motion. Possible remedies include make-up time, posting a bond, and even jail time. No remedies granted.
You d think the courts would protect my daughter (she was appointed a best interests lawyer even), but the court system is broken. My ex wife refuses to follow court orders.

Wow, thanks for letting me vent. Still stressful AF.

APR, 13, 2018 04:25:52 PM
Adult son going through it all, even threatened suicide twice. His friends have deserted him. I try but don’t know to help him.

MAR, 25, 2018 10:50:23 PM
Jan Milburn
I have gone through about everything anexity depression only thoughts never tried suicide ptsd I'm interested in doing a blog to get rid of the stigma I'm not perfect but I want to try and help 1 or 2 people connectthat this is a illness except it like or not

FEB, 01, 2017 08:44:40 PM
Becky Allison
I can only imagine the agony your son is in. Not to ignore the depression, but is it possible that your son's diagnosis is wrong? It sounds like this is chronic. If antibiotics have not helped, it may not be an infection. Sometimes the problem is actually Interstitial Cystitis and identifying triggers can be a great relief. Alcohol, diet pop, spicy foods. If his problem disappears, hopefully the depression will also.

NOV, 30, 2016 10:22:16 PM
Kari McDonald
attn Joshua,

E. Wa state here in desperate need of help for our 36 yr old used to be hardworking talented now prostatitis driving depression deep enough to concern us for his life.

May I have a word with you about supporting men perhaps in a different way because help is not easily reached. Saving lives has got to be possible at least a with a good effort. Loving our son is not enough. Call me please.

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