The tendency to dismiss depression as weakness is pervasive among men, with suicides among males outnumbering those of females by 3.5 times. Beharry came up with a five-point initiative as a result of his own battle with the condition in order to relay a positive message to others.
Beharry recently listed five myths that prevent men from dealing with depression on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website. Primarily pointing out that the problem carries the onus of fighting stigma on top of struggling with emotions, he said that the first and most important takeaway is that depression is a health condition that has nothing to do with personal weakness: the first myth to overcome.
The second myth is that a man should be able to control his feelings, followed by “real men don’t ask for help.” People may be conditioned to stave off feelings without reaching out, but cultivating a network of supportive professionals, family members and friends can be vital to recovery — along with the value of gaining perspective.
In alignment with the help factor, Beharry stated that rather than ignoring the illness, confronting it with the help of a professional psychotherapist can be a tremendous relief.
Men also subscribe to the illusion that by admitting to their condition, they will be a burden to others. In fact, Beharry said, the opposite is true. Keeping the struggle to oneself ultimately aggravates the difficulty; asking for help actually relieves the burden to others in the long run because improving one’s mental health creates opportunity for better and more honest relationships.
“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,” Beharry said.
His resource can be found at www.headsupguys.org.