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Tips for Helping Men Seek, Get Mental Health Care

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Professional mental health experts say when people open up about their feelings of depression or other issues, don't try to fix the problem or change the subject, but listen patiently and actively. (Publicdomainpictures)
Professional mental health experts say when people open up about their feelings of depression or other issues, don't try to fix the problem or change the subject, but listen patiently and actively. (Publicdomainpictures)
May 20, 2019

DENVER – STRIDE Community Health Center has joined the Let's Talk Colorado campaign, a coalition of more than 20 health organizations, and this year's emphasis is to address some of the unique challenges men face with mental health.

STRIDE psychologist Erin Baurle says men don't seek care at the rate women do, even though numbers show they suffer from depression, anxiety and other obstacles to their well-being the same as everyone else.

She says stigma continues to be one of the biggest barriers for people seeking treatment.

"The lack of treatment for mental health exceeds any other health condition that we have, and people are again real reticent to seek care and not getting the care that they need to address issues and concerns that are very real," she states.

Baurle notes at STRIDE, mental health is seen as integral to overall health and well-being, and licensed mental health professionals stand side by side with medical providers during a patient's medical visit.

Six million men across the U.S. admit to experiencing depression, and men are almost four times as likely to die from suicide as women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the nearly 1,200 Coloradans who died from suicide in 2017, almost 900 were men.

Baurle says it's common for men to shy away from talking about their feelings directly or in formal settings, so using a shoulder-to-shoulder approach can help bring issues out in the open.

She says it's a good idea to let men in your lives know – as you're driving or out on a walk – that when they are ready, you're open to talking and are there for support.

"So it might not be in that moment that you first broach the topic, it might be at some other point,” she states. “And when he does come to you, it's important to really focus and listen because men can more easily feel brushed off or ignored if other things are going on."

Baurle says catching issues early in the cycle, when someone is starting to feel overly stressed, is a good time to seek professional care before the problem gets worse.

She says a good first step to getting professional help is to talk with your primary care provider.

All of Colorado's 21 community health centers have behavioral health services onsite, or have arrangements with a community partner to whom they can refer patients.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO