“Six million American men will be diagnosed with depression this year. But millions more suffer silently, unaware that their problem has a name or unwilling to seek treatment. The result is a hidden epidemic of despair that is destroying marriages, disrupting careers, filling jail cells, clogging emergency rooms and costing society billions of dollars in lost productivity and medical bills. It is also creating a cohort of children who carry the burden of their fathers’ pain for the rest of their lives.” – Julie Scelfo (from a 2007 article named Men and Depression: Facing Darkness in Newsweek)
Today’s organization is focusing on men facing depression. Roughly 12% of men experience depression in their lifetime, but men are less likely than women to seek treatment for their depression. Untreated depression is the primary cause of suicide, and suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for men in the United States.
Mark Meier founded Face It Foundation after his own first-hand experience avoiding his own depression for 14 years. Mark’s depression caused him to avoid his wife and be “useless as a parent.” He had no tolerance for his children’s needs or requests, so he avoided them, wasn’t engaged in their life, or was angry at them. One night, he quickly put his children to bed after his wife had gone to work. He turned to his usual distraction of alcohol then retreated to his bedroom where he sat with a gun in his mouth. Before he could pull the trigger, his then nine month old daughter cried and jolted Mark back to reality. He was soon thereafter admitted to the hospital by his wife and slowly gained control over his life. That was seven years ago. Mark now has a successful consulting practice, serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota, and travels the United States speaking, training, and building programs about depression. You can read the detailed story from Mark here.
Guys get depressed, but are often too stubborn, proud, or unaware of their symptoms to address it. Thoughts such as only women get depression or that you can just get over it are common among men. Many men also tend to be taught not to talk about their problems in public. These are some reasons why men are often unwilling to consider treatment for depression. Mark founded the Face It Foundation to help, “Depression in men is common, but far too often men don’t recognize they are suffering from depression and equally often when they know they are suffering it is difficult to talk to someone. Face It wants men to know that depression is treatable, but to begin the recovery process a man must come forward.”
The mission of Face It Foundation is to work with men to understand and overcome depression through education, online tools, and peer support. Their website offers a wealth of information including signs and symptoms of depression, frequently asked questions, real life stories, treatment options, articles, videos, podcasts, and more.
Mark told me in an e-mail, “The treatment for depression is complicated and has many facets. The use of antidepressants and psychotherapy are the primary approaches used, but many men reject both of these options. Face It believes that there are many ways to deal with depression and the first step is to begin talking to others who understand the issue.”
You can hear more about the founder and the Face It mission in this short video:
How can you help?
- You can spread the word about the information available on the Face It website.
- You can read the stories and articles on the Face it website if you feel depression may be impacting a man in your life, then utilize the tips for discussing depression from Face It.
- You can also support the mission of Face It by making a monetary donation.
- Face It is also seeking men who have gone through depression and are willing to be peer mentors to other men. You can contact Face It Foundation via e-mail or phone (612-600-3953) if you are interested in helping with this online peer connector system.
- In July, the third annual Alive at the Market event will benefit the Face It Foundation. You can learn more about this event and how to volunteer or donate to the silent auction at aliveatthemarket.com.