How to spot depression
Man with fatigue

There’s a big difference between day-to-day upset, and a constant chemical imbalance in the brain, aka depression. Here’s some of the basics to keep you in the know

Men are far less knowledgeable about mental illness than women, and tend to have more negative attitudes about it, according to mental health charity Mind. Perhaps we’re put off at the idea of seeing a GP: a recent study showed that 3 in 4 British adults have been made to feel as though their decision to visit a clinic had wasted their doctor’s time. This is very discouraging for those already anxious about getting assessed.

Depression affects around one in 10 people in the UK, and one third of men with mental health issues attribute their problems to work. Yet, this common mental health issue can go unnoticed, especially with men, according to health expert Dr Sally Norton of VavistaLife. Given this lack of dialogue, it’s important to be aware of the basics. We looked at the key signs from experts at the NHS, and charity Mind, to help you give an honest evaluation of your mental health.

What causes depression?

If you’ve suffered a life-changing event, such as losing your job or losing a loved one, you’re more prone to suffering from depression than those who have not. But these circumstances aren’t a necessary condition for depression. Many develop it as an hereditary illness, according to the experts at the NHS. On the hand, many men and women become depressed for no obvious reason.

How do you know if you’re depressed?

  • It could mean lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, or losing interest in the things you would usually enjoy.
  • The effects of depression can cause a wide variety of symptoms, but people react to it in different ways.
  • A common symptom of depression is anxiety, which itself causes problems, many of them physical.
  • It can also cause constant tiredness, insomnia, and various aches and pains. It can also severely decrease appetite and libido.
  • The different severities of depression mean you might feel constantly low-spirited, or it could make you feel suicidal.
  • You might be stressed, anxious or unhappy, but these experiences pass over time. Ask yourself how long you’ve been feeling this way for, and be honest with yourself if you think you might have an issue with depression.

If you have any concerns that you might be depressed, seek advice from your GP, or speak to one of the UK mental health charities such as Mind or CALM.

For an exclusive interview with TV presenter Matt Johnson about his battle with depression, pick up a copy of Healthy For Men in Holland & Barrett today.