The month of Movember is now coming to an end, but this blog does not want to say goodbye without focussing on one aspect of our health which, although it may not be as grave as cancer, does affect millions of people all over the world.
It is not for nothing that the Movember platform, as part of its commitment to raise awareness about everyone’s health, advises all men to “stay mentally well”. Having good mental health and a positive attitude can play a key role in fighting any disease.
Gender and mental health
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), gender is a factor that has a decisive influence on mental health and on the development of different diseases. The type of mental health problem we may run the risk of having will depend on whether we are male or female.
The problem is that, to date, research into mental health disorders has focussed more on evaluating cases with regard to the global population than on determining the specific factors in respect of each gender in order to develop different mechanisms for men and women to protect against and prevent mental health problems.
According to WHO data, one in every 3 people will have some type of mental health problem, such as depression or episodes of anxiety and this tends to affect women more.
Some forecasts suggest that by 2020, unipolar depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide. This is a frightening figure for a terrible disease that today affects twice as many women as men.
Mental health problems specific to men
If we stop to look at mental health problems in men, we will unfortunately find that old accomplice –alcoholism. In the case of alcohol-dependent men, the likelihood of other types of common mental health disorders occurring during the patient’s lifetime is more than twice as high in men as it is in women.
In these cases, the risks for men are much higher than they are for women. In developed countries, the figures are approximately 20 percent of alcoholic men out of the total population, compared with only 8.3 percent of women.
Another mental disorder that has a higher incidence in men is antisocial personality disorder (manipulation, exploitation or violating the rights of other people). It is a problem linked to criminal behaviour and affects 3 times as many men as women.
Best Doctors does not want to say goodbye to Movember without once again acknowledging the work it does to raise awareness and publicise health issues so that men’s health, including mental health, is at the top of every agenda.