Men and Mental Health
Why is men’s mental health important?
Mental disorders affect men and women. The prevalence of several mental disorders is lower in men than in women. However, other disorders are diagnosed at comparable rates for men and women or at higher rates for men, like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Men are also more likely to die by suicide than women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Certain symptoms may also be more common in men than women, and the course of illness can be affected by a person’s sex. Researchers are only now beginning to tease apart the various biological and psychosocial factors that may impact mental health.
Men are less likely to have received mental health treatment than women in the past year. 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.
Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Learn more about taking care of your mental health.
What are the symptoms of mental disorders in men?
Men and women can develop most of the same mental disorders and conditions, but they may experience different symptoms. Some common 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, drugs, or both
- Persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness
- Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions
- Engaging in high-risk activities
- Aches, headaches, or 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
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
Mental disorders can be treated: If you are unsure where to go for help, ask a health care provider or visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage. Communicating well with a 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 a health care provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality .
Health topics and resources for men
Featured health topics
- Anxiety Disorders
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- 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 : The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus offers resources on the unique health issues men experience (en español ).
- Preventing Suicide Among Men in the Middle Years: Recommendations for Suicide Prevention Programs : The 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 (ages 35–64).
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) : SAMHSA offers publications addressing the specific needs of men.
- Why We Need to Talk About Men’s Mental Health : 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.
Learn about mental and emotional wellness in later life, signs and symptoms of depression, and ways to maintain and improve mental health.
Learn about common risk factors, populations at elevated risk, suicides by drug overdose, treatments, prevention, and resources for finding help.
This video from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center spotlights men between the ages of 35−64, a group whose suicide rate is more than double the national average.
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline : The Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. Call or text 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Support is also available via live chat . Para ayuda en español, llame al 988.
- Disaster Distress Hotline : This helpline from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides immediate crisis counseling for people experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. The helpline is free, multilingual, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call or text 1-800-985-5990.
- Veterans Crisis Line : This helpline is a free, confidential resource for veterans of all ages and circumstances. Call 988 then press 1; text 838255; or chat online to connect with 24/7 support.
- NIH Health Info Lines
Why should men participate in clinical trials?
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 people may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, they 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 have uncovered. Talk to a 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
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 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 Reviewed: May 2023
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