23 December 2022 |
A recent islandwide study conducted by Northern Caribbean University (NCU) has found that more than half, or 53%, of men in Jamaica have been experiencing varying levels of depression during the post-COVID-19 period, according to Nationwide Newsnet. The study, conducted in October and November of this year, found that levels of depression were recorded as: 41% mild, 8% moderate, and 4% severe.
The Jamaica Observer notes that the NCU study defines depression as a mood disorder which is associated with feelings of sadness and loss of interest, which negatively affect how one feels, thinks, and behaves. Depression results in a disruption of various aspects of daily living and may present itself in times of stress, crises, or conflicting events, and if not treated promptly, it can affect one’s functioning.
Further analysis of the NCU research findings revealed that the desire to be dead was more pronounced among younger men (eight percent of the 18–21 years old cohort, along with eight percent of men 22–25 years of age). Nearly six percent of men aged 26–29 years, and five percent of those ages 30+ years old expressed the sentiment. These findings reflected the view of the World Health Organization (WHO) that “the pandemic has affected the mental health of young people and that they are disproportionally at risk of suicidal and self-harming behaviors.”
The study goes on to discuss the masking of depression in men. Ideas of masculinity and how emotions should or shouldn’t be expressed contribute to the complexity of receiving proper care for depression and mental health issues.
NCU’s study points out that depression among men can be masked and, instead, appear as atypical signs and symptoms such as aggressive behavior, participating in risky activities, substance abuse, and suicidal ideations. Such behaviors negatively affect their ability to keep relationships with their family and friends and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “Many mistake these symptoms for other mental disorders, leading to the underdiagnosis of depression in men,” the NCU researchers noted.
Such findings should solicit immediate social intervention, medical intervention, and hotlines to deal with depressed males, the NCU study recommended.