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Managing Men's Mental Health

By Tom Allen, Executive Medical Director, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Good mental health is the foundation for good physical health. It helps with diet, sleep and reduces the risk of developing depression and anxiety. Managing mental health can be difficult for some men because they feel obliged to appear strong physically and mentally. The medical industry refers to this as traditional masculinity ideology — sore back, suck it up; exhausted, push through; worried or sad, don’t let it show.

Men may internalize their thoughts and emotions, leading to frustration and anger. As a result, some may lash out at friends, coworkers and loved ones, unaware how their actions affect others.

Coping methods to work through these emotions may include socializing, spending time with family, focusing on work, exercising, hunting, fishing and traveling. But some men may choose unhealthy habits by drinking, over-eating, developing addictions to caffeine and sugar, and/or taking on risky behaviors such as excessive gambling and abusing drugs.

Mental health is deeply personal. Talking to a friend or mentor can help some people work through their depression and anxiety and take control of destructive behaviors. While others may be more comfortable opening up to someone they don’t know so they aren’t emotionally invested and won’t feel judged. This is where it can be helpful to speak to a therapist — clinicians trained to help others understand their thoughts and behaviors and control their responses.

Some patients experience recovery after a single conversation, feeling greater control and confidence, relief from anxiety and a new sense of optimism and happiness. Others may benefit from consistent sessions for weeks or months. Like physical therapy, at some point, mental health therapy patients may feel better and treatment may no longer be needed.

If you know someone suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, suggest they contact their insurer to find a professional who can help. Visit our Connect Community for more information about mental health.

The above material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own best medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the best course of treatment. The fact that a service or treatment is described in this material is not a guarantee that the service or treatment is a covered benefit and members should refer to their certificate of coverage for more details, including benefits, limitations and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any service or treatment is between the member and their health care provider.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association


A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association