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. Asking questions and providing information to your doctor and other providers can improve your care. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction. Visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website for more information.
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).
- Higher Death Rate Among Youth with First Episode Psychosis
• Press Release
A new study shows that young people with first episode psychosis have a much higher death rate than previously thought. Researchers looked at people aged 16-30 and found that the group died at a rate at least 24 times greater than the same age group in the general population.
- Adding Better Mental Health Care to Primary Care
• Science Update
Medicare’s new policy supports Collaborative Care and could improve the lives of millions of people with behavioral health conditions.
- Soldiers at Increased Suicide Risk after Leaving Hospital
• Press Release
Soldiers hospitalized with a psychiatric disorder have a higher suicide risk in the year following discharge from the hospital.
Featured Health Topics and Resources
Featured Health Topics
Some of the mental disorders affecting men include:
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Featured Brochures and Factsheets
- Brother, You’re on My Mind (National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities)
- Heart Health and Depression (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Mental Health for Men (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health)
- National Center for PTSD (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)
- For Health Care Professionals: Preventing Suicide among Men in the Middle Years: Recommendations for Suicide Prevention Programs (Suicide Prevention Resource Center)
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.
- Disaster Distress Hotline: People affected by any disaster or tragedy can call this helpline, sponsored by SAMHSA, to receive immediate counseling. Call 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained professional from the closest crisis counseling center within the network.
- 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.
Live Chats with Experts
Join NIMH as we host or participate in live online chats that cover a variety of mental health topics! An expert in scientific and health issues will be available to answer your questions. Dates, times, topics, and hashtags for our chats will be announced on the NIMH homepage and through Twitter and Facebook.
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 individual participants 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 doctor about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you.
To learn more about participating in clinical trials, visit the NIMH Clinical Trials page.
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
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