Source: Central Jersey.com
From health and financial concerns to changes in how people live their everyday lives, the past 18 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have been fraught with uncertainty. And while the pandemic had an effect on everyone, men in particular faced certain challenges that resulted in increased stress, anxiety, and depression.
Stress is the body’s adaption to new and intense situations. It is a normal part of life and something that everyone experiences from time to time. For most people, stress is triggered when something unexpected happens in their lives or when they are facing big challenges that provoke fear and worry.
Left unmanaged, chronic stress can lead to clinical anxiety and depression that require help from a mental health professional. Though the stigma of mental health conditions and treatment may be improving, men still have trouble asking others for help.
When you feel stress, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which tell the body to be ready for immediate action. This is known as the fight or flight response.
Stress and the fight or flight response serve to improve survival. However, too much stress can interfere with your job, family life, and physical health.
The impact of too much stress can make some men especially prone to it to find it difficult to discuss their feelings. Perhaps they were raised in a family where talking about feelings was discouraged, or their sense of self makes it difficult to ask for help or to acknowledge when they feel as if life just isn’t going their way.
According to a national survey by the Cleveland Clinic last year, 77 percent of men reported that their stress level increased because of COVID-19, and three in five felt that the pandemic had a greater negative impact on their mental health than the 2008 recession. For men living with past trauma, the COVID-19 pandemic may have taken an even greater toll, as suppressed emotions tend to resurface during times of change and stress.
While many men feel comfortable asking for help with physical pain or discomfort, they find that managing feelings of vulnerability, discussing emotions, and self-care — such as addressing their need for emotional support — continue to remain a challenge.
Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health provides men a safe and supportive space to explore their concerns, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and connect with peers to help them realize that they are not alone.
For more information about Princeton House’s specialized services for men, visit PrincetonHouse.org/Men or call 1-888-437-1610.