I don’t have to tell you that men and women think differently and have different ways of coping with life’s ups and downs. This month I want to take some time to talk about what helps support positive mental health for the men in our lives. First the scary stuff. Men and women both are routinely diagnosed with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and alcohol & drug abuse disorders. Men are less likely to reach out for help than women though. Therefore they are less likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition. Rest assured though, there is plenty that can be done.
First, physical health is part of mental health. If something is going on in your body, it can affect the way you think and how you perceive the world around you. Men with lower testosterone levels have been shown to be prone to depression, anxiety, and mood swings. The mental health  of both genders can also be affected by thyroid problems, sleep apnea, vitamin D deficiency, and diabetes. This being the case, tip number one is get a yearly physical. Even when he feels well his doctor can catch issues prior to them becoming a bigger problem. His doctor can also screen for mental health concerns and help with recommendations for treatment.
Second women tend to have more informal support systems such as friends, family, clubs, and organizations they can go to for general support. Guys do not utilize these informal systems in the same way. So, if you see that your loved one is struggling, speak up. Let them know you are there for them. Ask how you can help. Sometimes just knowing someone is looking out for you can help lift your spirits.
Try having some fun! A positive outlook is a lot easier to achieve when you are enjoying life. Our happy hormones respond to new and enjoyable activities by producing more of the hormones that help regulate your mood as well as many other physical processes. Some of the main happy hormones include:
• Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter which helps with sleep, appetite, digestion, learning, and memory.
• Oxytocin is the “love hormone” This hormone can also help promote trust, empathy, and bonding in relationships. Endorphins are your internal pain reliever.
• Endorphin levels tend to increase when you engage in reward-producing activities such as eating and working out.
The best advice I can give though is to talk about it. Having open and honest conversations about how he is feeling can help him feel rooted and connected to the world in a positive way. By having honest, open conversations with the men we love we can help them feel heard and if needed find a way to start working through whatever struggles they may be having.