Wed, Aug 09, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Men must redefine masculinity, seek help: foundation

By Lee I-chia

Citing studies showing that adult men are more likely to underestimate their emotional problems and avoid seeking help, the John Tung Foundation on Monday urged men to redefine masculinity, and face and seek help for their problems.

The foundation cited Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics on the top causes of death in the nation last year, which showed that suicides by men were about double that of women, and Bureau of National Health Insurance data from 2015, which showed that less than 10 percent of men sought treatment at psychiatry departments or clinics.

A 2015 Australian study suggested that men with depression have a greater tendency to deal with it on their own rather than seek professional treatment, the foundation said, adding that the research concluded that many men with long-term depression had underestimated their problems and the need to seek help.

The research found that the notions of having to take control and being self-reliant were obstacles for men to seek professional assistance, it said.

“The majority of men with depression are used to underestimating or neglecting their problems, and only seek help when symptoms become very obvious,” foundation mental health center director Yeh Ya-hsing (葉雅馨) said.

In traditional culture, people think that men should have characteristics such as being strong or unyielding, and view those who seek help as weak or having no other choice, so men mostly prefer to talk about their achievements rather than their frustrated feelings or negative emotions, she said.

A new concept of masculinity should be established to encourage men to face their emotional problems and actively seek help to solve them, she added.

Family members can help those who exhibit depressive tendencies by showing care and asking how they are doing, as well as inviting them to outdoor social activities, Yeh said.

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