Guys wait too long before seeking help

March 3, 2021

Studies have found men experience just as many mental health difficulties as women. Despite this, men of all ages and ethnicities are less likely than women to seek help for a variety of problems, including depression, stressful life events, and substance abuse. One study found that only a third of mental health visits to doctors and other professionals were made by males.

The reluctance to seek help starts from an early age. According to ChildLine, a UK helpline, which receives over 240,000 calls every year, girls reach out three times more often for help than boys. In addition to being more hesitant than girls, boys also tend to wait until ‘near breaking point’ before seeking help with problems. Many boys who have used helplines say that admitting something is bothering them makes them feel weak and not like a ‘real man’. Guys resist asking for help for a number of reasons. Many learn early on from their parents and peers that they aren’t supposed to show vulnerability (e.g., cry, experience sadness). Some say they are aware they have a problem, but they don’t know what to say or where to go to ask for help.

Most guys tend to deny there’s a problem and rely on themselves instead of asking for help. Unlike girls, they are far less likely to seek help from friends and family. While girls become more likely to ask for help from friends between grades 7 and 10, guys’ tendency to ask for help actually declines in grades 7 and 8.

Not reaching out can affect both physical and mental health. Studies have shown that adult men who see asking for help as a sign of weakness experience more problems in relationships, higher rates of major illness, and earlier death.
How and where to ask for help

If you are having difficulty focusing on schoolwork, trouble sleeping, feeling on edge, or are simply not feeling like your usual self, don’t wait for your difficulties to become more severe and start interfering with your life. If it is too hard to talk to your parents or friends about what’s bothering you, think of asking someone you trust, like a guidance counselor, or a relative you trust. You could start by simply saying, “I’m having problems with school/ mood/ sleep/friends. I need some help to sort it out.”

In case you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can always call KidsHelpPhone at 1-800-668-6868. It is free of charge and available at all hours of the day and night. You’ll be able to talk to a professional counselor, who will not judge you and will keep any information you share completely private.

Here are some resources you can contact:

Kids Help Phone for any young person up to the age of 20:

The Ottawa Distress Centre for any one of any age:

Good to Talk for any college and university student in Ontario and Nova Scotia: 


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