By SWNS Staff

NEWS COPY W/ VIDEO + INFOGRAPHIC

The myth that “boys don’t cry” just got another nail in its coffin, new research suggests. 

A study of 2,004 Americans asked men and women how often they cry, finding that men averaged just over four times a month, compared to just over three for women.

That’s 48 times a year for men and only 36 for women.

The stereotype that men don’t seek professional help for their mental health also seems inaccurate — two-thirds of the men surveyed have done so at some point in their lives, compared to just half of the women.

But despite those numbers, the survey — which was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Vida Health — still found evidence of stigma against men seeking help. 

And other stereotypes appear to hold true, as men (63%) are almost twice as likely as women (34%) to hide the fact that they’re getting treatment for their mental health.

Male respondents also admitted they’d feel embarrassment (50%), shame (40%) or fear (39%) if those close to them found out they were going to therapy. 

By contrast, just 23% of female respondents would be embarrassed; 17% would feel shame and only 16% would feel fear.

Those heightened feelings of shame may be why men with diagnosed mental health conditions  confessed more frequently to using coping behaviors like alcohol abuse (49%), substance abuse (40%) and self-harm (35%).

Those behaviors appear to be far less common among women — only 27% reported alcohol abuse, 23% admitted to substance abuse and 20% resorted to self-harm to cope.

Only 32% of all respondents disagreed that men are less emotional than women and therefore less likely to suffer from mental health problems.

Meanwhile, 55% think that women have better support systems than men so they’re more likely to get help for their mental health. 

“We know for many men, the stigma about being vulnerable and seeking help for their mental health is still very prevalent today,” said Mark Hedstrom, US Executive Director of Movember. “As a society, we need to break down these barriers and help men understand the importance of opening up and getting help during those difficult moments. We also need to look out for each other. Check in on the men in your life — it could literally be a conversation that might save a life.” 

Overall, almost two-thirds of respondents agree that there still is stigma attached to getting help for your mental health — 61% of women and 69% of men.

Regardless of gender, 40% of those polled believe that men are more likely to face this stigma, compared to 34% who think women are most likely to face it. 

Interestingly, 43% of baby boomers (57 years and older) think men face stigma, but only 15% of them think women are likely to.

The source of that stigma? Both genders say that most often it’s their friends and family.

For men, friends are far more likely to stigmatize them (19%) compared to only 13% of women saying the same.

“Over the past two years we’ve made tremendous progress in destigmatising mental health ailments, but there’s still so much work to be done — especially for men,” said Vida Health Chief Clinical Officer Chris Mosunic, PhD. “So many men feel like they need to keep their feelings to themselves, tucked away and shielded, otherwise they’ll be labeled as weak and lesser-than. In reality understanding those feelings, embracing them, and seeking out the assistance that can help them feel better is just about the bravest and strongest thing a person can do.” 

COMMON MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS REPORTED BY MEN

  • Depression (44%)
  • Anxiety (36%)
  • Mood disorders (31%)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (28%)

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