April is Counseling Awareness Month. While men can be hesitant to seek out counseling, perhaps because of a perceived stigma around asking for help, therapy sessions can be very helpful in addressing issues with addiction or mental health. Young men should seek counseling to discover the many ways it can benefit them so they can get the help they need.
Why Men Avoid Counseling
Many people may be hesitant to seek help for mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, but researchers have found that young men are the least likely of all demographics to seek professional help. In fact, these individuals typically have a greater need for psychological intervention, as the onset of mental illness usually occurs in early adulthood. Suicide rates are also high among young men between the age of 15 and 24.
Young men may experience a sense of embarrassment, discomfort, shame, or even fear around asking for help with mental health issues. The stigma of mental illness, as well as challenges in managing and communicating their distress, can catch young men in a cycle of avoidance. They often wait until they are severely distressed before they reach out for help.
In addition, men can feel that they will lose control if they disclose personal information in a counseling session, as they tend to have a greater need for confidentiality. When these men do not get the help they need, however, they may turn to alternative coping mechanisms, including alcohol and drugs, in an attempt to relieve their emotional and physical pain.
Mental Health Issues
The five most common mental health issues that can be indications that young men should seek counseling are anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia, and eating disorders.
- Anxiety: Over 3 million adult men are diagnosed with panic disorders or phobias every year.
- Depression: Over 6 million men suffer from depression every year.
- Bipolar disorder: Approximately 2.3 million Americans are diagnosed with bipolar disorder each year, and about half of those are men. This disorder affects young men, especially, with onset occurring between the ages of 16 and 25.
- Psychosis and schizophrenia: Out of the 3.5 million adults in the US who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, 90% of those who are diagnosed before age 30 are men.
- Eating disorders: Men account for 10% of those individuals with anorexia or bulimia and 35% of those with binge-eating disorders.
Men and Mental Health Symptoms
Men tend to experience depression and other mental health issues differently than women. Men who suffer from depression may exhibit symptoms such as:
- Taking physical risks, being more aggressive in activities such as driving, and having unsafe sex
- Losing interest in their job
- Experiencing problems with sleeping
- Being more irritable than usual
- Experiencing physical pain with headaches or digestive issues
- Becoming more controlling, abusive, or violent
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope with their symptoms of depression.
How Counseling Can Help
Young men should seek counseling because ignoring mental health issues such as depression or anxiety won’t make them go away. Men may tend to think that talking cannot help their situation. By participating in counseling, though, they will find that issues that are weighing heavily on them mentally will become less stressful as they talk about them more openly. Talk therapy, in particular, has been found to be an effective treatment for depression and can also help in developing new coping skills.
Therapy on an individual basis can help reassure men of the confidentiality of their discussions, even though all counseling sessions are confidential by nature. Individual therapy can give young men the safe space they need to explore their thoughts, concerns, and feelings. Young men who seek counseling will find that they become more self-aware and are able to improve the quality of their mental and physical health and improve the quality of their life.
Help for Young Men at PACE
Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.
At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.