There are longstanding stereotypes in society that ‘men don’t cry’, ‘men should always be in control of their emotions’ and that ‘men should be strong’, rather than seek help from others or talk openly about their feelings.
However, mental health issues affect us all, irrespective of gender. Although society has become more open to discussions around mental health in recent years, these societal stereotypes mean many men could still be suffering in silence.
Depression remains one of the key mental health issues that men face with half of therapists reporting an increase in men presenting with depression in the past year. Despite this, 56% of therapists agreed that men are less likely to get mental health support than women.
Well-known symptoms of depression include feeling sad or low. However, depression can take other forms and affect people in many different ways. It can have an impact on someone’s mood, behaviour and thoughts, make them feel tired, tearful, irritable, angry, anxious and can lead to a loss of interest in things people previously enjoyed. They may also lose concentration, self-confidence, appetite and motivation.
But therapists report that there are often differences in the way men and women present with symptoms of depression, with men more prone to Risk-taking, Anger, Isolation, Substance abuse and Exhaustion.
To help support and encourage men who are suffering to seek qualified help, BACP has created the apronym R.A.I.S.E.
R – Risk-taking
A – Anger
I – Isolation
S – Substance abuse
E – Exhaustion
While these symptoms aren’t exhaustive or exclusive to men, we hope this apronym will help open up conversations around men’s mental health and serve as a useful starting point to spot some of the more common male-specific symptoms of depression. If you recognise any of these feelings and symptoms either in yourself or a loved one, then do read on. The following guide, written by trained therapists, contains lots of advice to help recognise and manage your depression.
BACP Trustee and therapist
Find out more about substance abuse as a symptom of depression, when to see a therapist and how therapy can help.
Depression can manifest itself physically through exhaustion or lack of energy. We've some tips to help manage exhaustion.
How to seek therapy
If you’ve recognised any of the R.A.I.S.E symptoms in yourself, then it might be time to seek professional support from a therapist.
Contributing therapists and case studies
This booklet has been carefully co-created with highly experienced therapists. Together they are shedding a light on the less recognised symptoms of depression, which comprise the R.A.I.S.E. apronym. Each therapist has shared their one key piece of advice for men struggling with depression.
We would also like to thank the men from Men Walking and Talking Therapy – Dan, Ashley, Arrun, Mark and Andy, who have shared their experiences with therapy for this booklet in hope that it will encourage other men to seek qualified help.
“Strength is not found in the absence of struggle, but rather in the determination to rise above it. If you are experiencing
depression, seek help, speak your truth, and remember that your emotional vulnerability is a testament to your courage.”
“Courage is not the absence of fear, it is feeling that fear and facing it. Depression can be the darkest place we will ever go. It will zap our energy. Make us behave in ways we find unacceptable. And it will cut us off from those we love the most. But the bravest, most courageous thing we can do is to reach out for help.”
“If you’re feeling sad or low three times a day for three weeks, it’s time to see your GP and discuss your options. There are many types of depression, but usually, one is situational – something is going on in your life. The other is general – when you are feeling down, and you don’t know why. In both
instances seek help now.”
“Come from a place of open mindedness and mutual respect. By doing so, you will continue to grow in your relationship and avoid some of the pitfalls, such as taking each other for granted.”
“Remember that self-care is your ally. It’s not selfish; it’s essential. Take time for activities you enjoy, get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise. These small steps can make a big difference. Prioritise self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer a friend in the same situation.”