Men, Fathers, & Mental Health: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

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 Clinical practice, research, and theory on men’s relationships and their mental health lags far behind that of women. In some cases this has substantial, even dire, consequences for men and boys. For example, women are 2-3 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of depression, even when men and women score the same on standardized instruments. While women are twice as likely to contemplate suicide, males are four times more successful in their attempts. Men also tend to shun the use of mental health services—seeking help at about half the rate of women. Men’s mental health has important consequences on other people, too. Relationships with women, children, and friends can suffer at the hands of untreated depression in men—sometimes with violent or emotionally challenging consequences. As Furman (2010) noted, “many men need help and making services appealing, accessible, and effective for men is in everyone’s best interest. Social work (and other mental health providers) that do not treat men with empathy, respect, and dignity my fail to prevent or resolve many of the most severe social problems.”