First up in the news for nurses this week is a look at how men are being missed when they have issues with depression and anxiety. The health care system is not serving the mental health needs for this portion of the population when compared to women and children.

10% of Men Deal With Depression

depression-man-covering-faceAccording to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report nearly 10% of all American men are mentally ill, dealing with depression or anxiety disorders. The problem goes deeper than that because only about 1/3 to 1/2 are getting any treatment at all.

There was a survey of over 20,000 men in the U.S. across all ethnic groups and economic classes which asked the respondents to list their mental health concerns or diagnoses. Almost 1 in 10 of them reported having problems with depression or anxiety disorders. Minority and uninsured men are more likely to avoid mental health services either because of cost or stigma attached to mental illness.

One mental health public awareness group hopes that the additional provisions for mental health care in the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare could help give more patients access to care and remove the stigma for seeking help. An interesting piece of information as a side note, African Americans have lower depression levels than their white and hispanic counterparts in this and other studies. Researchers are not sure why this is true but the repeated findings support that it does exist as a factor.

Perhaps there’s a benefit for those particular minority patients at least. Still as nurses, we need to include a mental health assessment in our patient interactions even if it’s just a few questions about depression or anxiety. This can help us and the patients themselves identify potential problems and give us and our healthcare partners an opportunity to refer them to additional resources.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Safer Patient Ambulation with Nezzie and Episode 352.

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