Men's Health Month

Learn more about Men's Health Month!


June is Men’s Health Month

A message from Martina Gollin-Graves, MHA's President & CEO:

The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.  One of the ways we can support the health of men in our lives is to increase their understanding about mental health and risk factors.

Men make up over 75 percent of suicide victims in the United States with one man killing himself every 20 minutes.  Last year there were more than 800 suicide deaths in Wisconsin, more than 50 percent of those deaths were middle aged men. In older men, suicide is most strongly associated with depression, physical pain and illness, living alone, and feelings of hopelessness and guilt.  While it is impossible to know exactly why someone takes their own life or the one thing that will prevent a suicide death, we can definitely learn more about the risk factors that can put someone at a higher risk, especially for men in the middle years.  On the flip side, it’s just as important to know the protective factors

Many people in Wisconsin experience low levels of social connectedness. According to data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System included in the 2014 County Health Rankings, 17 percent of Wisconsin adults report inadequate social support. See "Resources for Getting Connected" below.

Healthy communities provide infrastructure for social interaction at multiple levels. Strategies for increasing social connections function to bring individuals and families together and promote concepts of shared responsibility within communities. Research demonstrates relationships between loneliness and risk factors for suicide. A report in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that men who have more social connections, such as through marriage and religious participation, tend to have a lower risk of suicide. Study participants who had the most connections had less than half the risk of suicide over 24 years as those with the fewest social ties. Connectedness to others, including family members, teachers, and coworkers, as well as community, faith-based, and social organizations, plays an important role in protecting individuals from suicide.

MHA of Wisconsin believes there is no health without mental health and suicide is one of the most preventable deaths - we just have to know how to respond.  We can all save lives and there are three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide. Become a QPR trained Gatekeeper and learn the warning signs of suicide, know how to offer hope and how to get help and save a live. Find a QPR trainer near you.


Martina Gollin-Graves, MSW
President and CEO
Mental Health America of Wisconsin

Resources for Getting Connected

Creating Connections- Learn how connections help with increased happiness, better health and a longer life.

Social Support: Getting and Staying Connected- Research has shown that social support wards off the effects of stress on depression, anxiety and other health problems. If you think you need to be more connected to others here are some tips to help you create a plan to make, keep and strengthen connections in your life.

Suicide loss survivor support groups in Wisconsin- a grief support group for all family members and friends after the loss of a loved one who has completed suicide. Connect with others, like you, have experienced this tragedy (Excel file)

NAMI Peer-to-Peer Program – is a free, 10-session educational program for adults with mental illness who are looking to better understand their condition and journey toward recovery.

NAMI Connection Support Groups- is a free, peer-led support group for adults living with mental illness. Gain insight from hearing the challenges and successes of others.

Recovery Peer Run Organizations in Wisconsin- non-medical crisis alternative where you can feel safe, receive support in a homelike environment and people understand and believe in you because they’ve been where you are.

Men & Depression

Signs & Symptoms   |   Causes   | Getting Help  

Both men and women get depression, but men can experience it differently than women. And, while women with depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide.

Many men do not recognize, acknowledge, or seek help for their depression. They may be reluctant to talk about how they are feeling. But depression is a real and treatable illness. It can affect any man at any age. With the right treatment, most men with depression can get better and gain back their interest in work, family, and hobbies.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression has a number of signs and symptoms. Sometimes men or those closest to them, may not see the signs. Men are each affected in different ways, but three of the most common signs are pain, risk taking, and anger.  

Pain: Depression may show up as physical signs like constant headaches, stomach problems, or pain that doesn't seem to be from other causes or that doesn't respond to normal treatments.     

Risk Taking: Sometimes depressed men will start taking risks like dangerous sports, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, and casual sex.  

Anger: Anger can show itself in different ways like road rage, having a short temper, being easily upset by criticism, and even violence.    

Other common signs:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
  • Sleeping too much or too little, middle of the night or early morning waking
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss in pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (such as digestive disorders)
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, helpless or worthless
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you have five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, you could have depression and should see your doctor or a qualified mental health professional for help.

Take an online mental health screening >>

Causes of Depression

Research hasn't found any one cause for depression. But, both genetics and environment seem to play a role in changing the brain chemistry that affects our mood. In some cases, depression can run in the family, but people with no family history can experience depression too.  

Other Risk Factors for Depression include:

  • Stress
  • Situational Factors (i.e. loss of a loved one, losing/changing a job, divorce)
  • Other medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, stroke/heart attack, alcohol/drug abuse)
  • Medications     

Getting Help

If you think you may be depressed, seeing a professional can help you figure out if you really are or not.  And, if you are a professional can work with you to develop a treatment plan. Here are some professionals that you can talk to: Mental Health Professionals

Other resources for getting help include:

  • Your health plan or employee assistance program (EAP)
  • Community mental health centers
  • Social service agencies
  • Private clinics
  • Local Support Group 
  • Religious or Spiritual settings