Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. We’re so glad you joined us. Joining us today is our friend and therapist Ken Clark from Channel Family Therapy. Hi Ken, thanks for being here today. I wanted to talk about a topic, you know, we hear often. We hear quite regularly about the topic of depression and there may be a connotation that we associate depression with females or maybe in children, but not often do we associate it with males? And so, my I guess my first question is very basic and that is um, is there a level of impact that depression has on men?
Ken Clark, LMFT: Yeah, absolutely. It’s as widespread as it is with any other classification of humans, right. Whether it’s by gender or age or anything else. Humans battled depression at a fairly high rate over the course of their lives. In other words, probably six or seven out of 10 adults will, will have some about of something that, that that looks like clinical depression somewhere at least once in their adult years. It might be around the loss of a loved one, it might be a midlife crisis if it might be just a rough experience in college. But uh men experience that just as much. Now the tragedy is that we pretend like men don’t that men are somehow impervious to this or we just toughen up or something like that. But the reality is um, men in general experienced depression at a rate of like 5 to 6 million adult males a year in the US. So, it’s very prevalent if you’re battling any of the symptoms of depression, you may not know what those are yet, but, but that would make you incredibly normal.
MR: Let and let’s touch on what some of the symptoms might be. Are they different between male and female, and kids?
KC: They’re definitely different. And some of that difference is uh, part of how we’re trained probably in in our society to act as men and women at times, some of the traditional values. Uh, it’s a lot more acceptable for women to shed tears probably than it is guys in in some cultures. Right? Um, and so you’ll see uh, kind of that higher emotionality sometimes come out of women, not that it doesn’t with men by the way, they just don’t tend to do it with their peers at the office, they might go out in the work, shed some tears. But, but a lot of times we’ll see things like irritability and uh kind of a general just block like just kind of stalled out. Not, not feeling motivated loss of, of joy and pleasure and things. Uh, that that can all like burnout? Right? Like that the same thing that the burnout kind of looks like it is what it can look like for men with depression in general, so.
MR: Are there circumstances where depression and men may just show up all of a sudden and maybe when I say circumstances maybe even a triggering event?
KC: Yeah. Oh sure. I think in general, right, anything traumatic. Loss, uh, you know, scary events, military service being a first responder. All those things can change how we see the world whether or not we feel hope or fear things like that. Um, so for sure the things that were exposed to can do it, I think men naturally also hit some, uh, like, like probably a lot of people hit some plateaus in their life where they have to redefine who they are and You realize that, you know, 49, you’re probably not starting a new career and this is it and this is the house you’re going to live in. You know, so there’s those probably moments of grief and acceptance that can lead to depression as well that are kind of life stage stuff. Um, and then in general, I think men, a lot of times don’t have close confidants and friends as much as we see women and younger people, kids. Um, and so I think there’s a lot of isolation and loneliness among men, even if they’re standing in a crowded room full of other men, right? Because they don’t connect on that level. So, anybody that doesn’t really have that close friend that they vent to, that they talked to life about, that they blow off some steam with, sure they’re going to be more prone to depression as well.
MR: Is there a possibility that men could even suffer from a little depression after maybe recently getting married or, or even more recently having a baby when the focus is um in the instance of having a new child, the focus is on the mother, the focus is on the child. We hear about women who go through postpartum. Is that anything men might experience to a lesser degree?
KC: Yeah, there’s actually a diagnosis in our field called adjustment disorder with symptoms of depression, right? With depression, depressive symptoms. So, we recognize that when, when big things happen, that adjust the way your life functions, uh your identity is redefined, your role is changed, you feel less important or like all the pressure’s on you or whatever, all those things, those adjustments can lead to depression and anxiety lead to bad choices. So, for sure those curve balls that life throws us especially postpartum and things that, that are just having a kid and your role gets redefined? Yeah. All that can, can impact who we see in the mirror and how we feel about the day ahead of us.
MR: Okay, so what are some resources for men?
KC: So, one, men underutilized therapy right there. There’s a great study in the United Kingdom that a few years ago that showed that men who went to therapy, their income went up by double digits in the year after they went to therapy, right? Like therapy works, y’all, if it makes you a better earner, friend, husband, dad, son brother, all that kind of stuff. Um So one of the best things you can do if you’re, you’re battling depression is go online and search for therapists in your area or use one of these online services where you can basically be completely anonymous and start just telling somebody what’s going on. They’re not going to place blame on you, they’re not going to make you go confront uh you know, your childhood bully or anything like that, they’re just going to be there for you and they’re going to hold space for you to talk and process. Um number two, if the depression is really strong and we’re to the point where we can’t function, can’t get out of bed, we’re having dark thoughts, that kind of thing. Then we absolutely want you to talk to your primary care physician or psychiatrist or a nurse practitioner who works with mental health and think about some medication for a little season of your life. Uh those medications make huge changes in how we experience the world without changing a whole lot about who we are there in in the grand scheme of things, probably miracle drugs and then last but not least tell the people close to you that you’re struggling asked for more time. Ask for more companionship. Um, a lot of these problems of, of anxiety and depression and other things we can’t solve without the help of the world around us. We know that people that have strong support systems who are engaged and care for them move through these things much quicker. So, talk to somebody is the punchline of all those.
MR: And Ken, how can people get in touch with you or get in touch with your group if they have questions or want to talk to somebody?
KC: So, our, our practice Channel Family Therapy is all over the state of Arkansas, but there’s a lot of great practices here to uh, that we’re honored to uh, call colleagues. So, um, you can always find us on the internet at ChanelTherapy.com. for anywhere in Arkansas as well as Dallas Texas. Um, but I would encourage you, uh, as well to just go to google, go to psychology today. Go to some of these directory sites where there’s listings of therapists and read through the listings until you find somebody that resonates with you. That seems like they have your life journey or understand your background. Um, Finding the right therapist was like, finding a that that great pair of jeans, right? Like you got to try a few on, you got to break them in. It’s okay to, to move on from a therapist after two or three sessions if it’s not working and try somebody else. So, get online. You’ll find some great resources for us in other places.
MR: All right, ken, thank you for joining us today and for that. Great advice.
KC: Always great seeing you. Thanks for having me.
MR: And thank you for joining us today. We’ll see you back here next week for more AFMC TV.