June is Men’s Mental Health Month and an important time to raise awareness about the need for more men to seek support and treatment of their mental health symptoms.
Studies continue to reflect that most men associate seeking assistance for a psychological or emotional problem with shame or weakness. For many men in our community, being strong, tough, macho, and manly means avoiding problems, ignoring pain, and denying reality. According to a recent blog post by licensed mental health counselor and self-described “mental health nerd”, Dan Bates, “Our desire as men to be Superman is our Kryptonite. We are killing ourselves.”
Men with chronic anxiety and depression run the risk for very serious cardiovascular and immune system issues. All that stress, depression, anxiety, combined with poor diet and use of alcohol goes straight to our hearts, literally. Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, and is the number one killer of men in the United States. Moreover, men with other chronic conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis/chronic pain, and high blood pressure are three times more at risk of developing depression and often other mental health conditions.
While depression affects each person differently, some symptoms are more common in men than women. These include irritability, sudden anger, increased loss of control, risk-taking, and aggression.
Some research shows a relationship between men avoiding and denying medical care, which can lead to mental health problems and an increase in self-destructive behaviors such as smoking, alcohol/drug abuse, suicide, and/or acts of violence.
Lone Star Circle of Care Response
In keeping with Lone Star Circle of Care’s vision (LSCC) s vision to facilitate wellness and strengthen our communities by eliminating health inequities, we offer men a safe and supportive environment to discuss their medical and behavioral health needs.
LSCC uses an integrated care model to help patients obtain seamless care throughout our service lines including Behavior Health care. Primary care providers screen for depression and alcohol/drug abuse at appointments. After discussing any concerns with the patient, the primary care provider can facilitate a referral to LSCC Behavioral Health. Once this referral is made, the patient is scheduled for an initial Behavioral Health intake appointment with a licensed therapist. This screening provides a confidential and understanding place for men to share their worries, feelings, and concerns. The licensed therapist will present options and services that can give patients the knowledge, support and tools for living happier and healthier.
Individualized Care Plan
Based on the patient’s needs and interests, an individualized Care Plan is created in partnership with the patient, to reflect the patient’s diagnosis and their goals for care. These goals can include eliminating consistent anxiety or depression, working on relationships, improving communication, addressing a drug or alcohol problem, connecting with community resources, coping with a chronic medical condition, and making changes to live smarter and healthier.
The Care Plan may include counseling sessions every two weeks with a psychotherapist, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or a Licensed Professional Counselor. Designated LSCC psychotherapists can also offer couples or family counseling if desired. The Care Plan can also include a referral to a LSCC Psychiatrist or Nurse Practitioner who can recommend medication and assist with management of these medications with patients. As part of the integrated care model at LSCC, the Behavioral Health team works with the patient’s primary care providers in tracking success and accomplishments as patients achieve their Care Plan goals.
LSCC is committed to empowering men in understanding that admitting a problem is a sign of strength, not weakness, and asking for help is discovering the tools and steps to better health and a happier life.
If you are concerned about your mental health, we have resources and professionals who are willing to help. You can schedule an appointment with us by calling 1-877-800-5722.
Bates, D., Men Are Afraid to Ask for Help: The negative outcomes of not seeking help. The Mental Health Nerd, November 20, 2019
Field, B., Exploring the Stigma of Men and Mental Health, www.verywellmind.com, December 5, 2022
Blog post written by Harry Livesay, LCSW-S
Lone Star Circle of Care