Men and Mental Health
While mental illnesses affect both men and women, the prevalence of mental illnesses in men is often lower than women. Men with mental illnesses are also less likely to have received mental health treatment than women in the past year. However, men are more likely to die by suicide than women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recognizing the signs that you or someone you love may have a mental disorder is the first step toward getting treatment. The earlier that treatment begins, the more effective it can be.
Men and women can develop most of the same mental disorders and conditions but may experience different symptoms. Some symptoms include:
- Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
- Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge
- Increased worry or feeling stressed
- Misuse of alcohol and/or drugs
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions
- Engaging in high-risk activities
- Aches, headaches, digestive problems without a clear cause
- Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
- Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life
- Unusual thinking or behaviors that concern other people
Mental disorders can be treated: If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your family doctor or visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage. Communicating well with your health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Read about tips to help prepare and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, including questions to ask your health care provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, get help immediately. You can call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- Media Advisory: NIMH Experts Available to Discuss Mental Health Concerns Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
• Media Advisory
Experts from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are available to speak on a variety of topics related to mental health and the coronavirus pandemic, such as the effects of the pandemic and isolation on those with and without mental illnesses; healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and loneliness; how to talk with children and teens about the coronavirus; and how people can find mental health help and support if they need it.
Featured Health Topics and Resources
Featured Health Topics
Some of the mental disorders affecting men include:
- Anxiety Disorders including social phobia
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders
- Suicide Prevention
Featured Brochures and Fact Sheets
- Brother, You’re on My Mind: This National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities initiative uses a variety of activities to raise awareness of the mental health challenges associated with depression and stress that affect African American men and their families.
- Men’s Health: National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus offers resources on men’s health (en Español).
- Mental Health for Men: This blog post from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health discusses the importance of supporting men’s mental health.
- National Center for PTSD: A program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, this Center offers targeted information for anyone interested in post-traumatic stress disorder (including Veterans, family, and friends).
- Preventing Suicide among Men in the Middle Years: Recommendations for Suicide Prevention Programs: This Suicide Prevention Resource Center created this resource to help state and community suicide prevention programs design and implement projects to prevent suicide among men in the middle years.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: SAMHSA offers publications addressing the specific needs of men.
Men speak candidly about their experiences with depression.
These short educational videos from the National Center for PTSD describe PTSD and effective treatments.
This video from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center spotlights men between the ages of 35 and 64, who have a suicide rate that is more than double the national average.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The Lifeline provides 24-hour, toll-free, and confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to connect with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area. Support is available in English and Spanish and via live chat.
- Veterans Crisis Line: This helpline is a free, confidential resource for Veterans of all ages and circumstances. Call 1-800-273-8255, press "1"; text 838255; or chat online to connect with 24/7 support.
- Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741 for free and confidential support 24 hours a day throughout the U.S.
- Disaster Distress Hotline: People affected by any disaster or tragedy can call this helpline, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to receive immediate counseling. Call or text 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained professional from the closest crisis counseling center within the network.
- More NIH Information Lines
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. We have new and better treatment options today because of what clinical trials uncovered years ago. Be part of tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you.
To learn more or find a study, visit:
- NIMH’s Clinical Trials webpage: Information about participating in clinical trials
- Join a Study: Adults: List of studies being conducted on the NIH Campus in Bethesda, MD
Why should men participate in clinical studies?
Sex and gender can influence health in important ways. You can help scientists learn more about the differences and make it possible to draw conclusions that advance health for both men and women. NIMH is committed to ensuring that men trying to decide whether to enroll in a clinical study get all the information they need to feel comfortable and make informed decisions.
Last Revised: June 2019
Unless otherwise specified, NIMH information and publications are in the public domain and available for use free of charge. Citation of the NIMH is appreciated. Please see our Citing NIMH Information and Publications page for more information.