are less likely to suffer from depression than women, 3 to 4
million men in the United States are affected by the illness.
Men are less likely to admit to depression, and doctors are
less likely to suspect it. The rate of suicide in men is four
times that of women, though more women attempt it. In fact,
after age 70, the rate of men's suicide rises, reaching a peak
after age 85.
Depression can also affect the physical health in men differently
from women. A new study shows that, although depression is associated
with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in both men
and women, only men suffer a high death rate.2
Men's depression is often masked by alcohol or drugs, or by
the socially acceptable habit of working excessively long hours.
Depression typically shows up in men not as feeling hopeless
and helpless, but as being irritable, angry, and discouraged;
hence, depression may be difficult to recognize as such in men.
Even if a man realizes that he is depressed, he may be less
willing than a woman to seek help. Encouragement and support
from concerned family members can make a difference. In the
workplace, employee assistance professionals or worksite mental
health programs can be of assistance in helping men understand
and accept depression as a real illness that needs treatment.