Depression in males is often complicated by feelings of shame and guilt, and a concern that others should perceive them as weak, according to the President of the Australian Psychological Society, Amanda Gordon. These feelings then contribute to men’s feelings of helplessness and low self-worth, which can sometimes lead to tragic consequences.
“Often men are determined that even close family members should not know how hopeless they feel. Psychologists can hear and understand those feelings, and support men in their struggle to recover their normal functioning”, Gordon said. Psychologists operate according to a strict Code of Ethics, which ensures that anyone who consults them, for whatever problem, is assured of complete confidentiality. Psychologists are skilled in assessing people’s mental state, and then devising specific interventions to address the underlying issues. This can convert helplessness into hopefulness, as men recognize that negative feelings can be controlled and that they can take increasing charge of their responses to those feelings, and begin to live life again.
The Australian Psychological Society urges Government to provide funding for depressed people to consult psychologists directly for assistance. Currently the only psychology consultations receiving funding under Medicare are for those with a complex chronic illness, and then only after referral by a general practitioner. Even those with longterm depression often prefer not to talk to their family doctor about anything they perceive as weakness, and may only reveal physical aches and pains, not revealing the extent of their distress. Psychologists are skilled at freeing people to talk about feelings and thoughts, and to recognize when physical symptoms may indicate emotional distress.
Being encouraged to go directly to a psychologist to deal with emotional issues, will enhance men’s perception of their own worth and ability to make change. They need to be able to consult a psychologist without delay if we are to protect against the risk of suicide.
For more information contact:
Australian Psychological Society
Telephone: 0411 428 250