Acupuncture, herbs and depression

 In Article

The suicide rates of men are increasing

Recently, I read a BBC report of an increase in male suicides in the UK. Since 2006, suicides by men in the age group 45-54 had gone up by 73%. The number of male patients diagnosed with mental health issues who completed suicide rose by 26% in the same period. Those are horrifying figures by any count.

In Australia, Mindframe reported:

In 2013, 1,885 males (16.4 per 100,000) and 637 females (5.5 per 100,000) died by suicide, a total of 2,522 deaths (10.9 per 100,000), which equates to an average of 6.9 deaths by suicide in Australia each day. See more at:

We have often heard how men are not by nature health seekers. That is to say, we men are averse to asking for help because it somehow cast doubts on or undermine our sense of masculinity and strength. The first thing to say is that it takes far more strength and courage to acknowledge one is in need of assistance. The second thing to say is that for those diagnosed with mental health issues that may not apply at all. According to the same BBC report, such men are already under some care. Perhaps then, it is a failure to under the tremendous stress faced by men in this age group. Loneliness is a great affliction. The report further identified “alcohol misuse, isolation, unemployment and debt.” These are of course, complex issues and I am not suggesting they are easily resolved nor could they be in a short time.

Here is a reference given by the Australian Psychological Society that is useful to keep in mind:

To begin to understand suicide in men we need to acknowledge the psychobiological and cultural realities and demands on men’s lives, as described by Ashfield (2010): “The practice of blaming men for ‘holding in their emotions’ and ‘not seeking help’, and calls for changes to the traditional male role, sounds plausible but is, at best, lazy and simplistic. It is a view that conveniently avoids dealing with the more complex issues of male suicide, and is one that is ignorant of biology, and offensively dismissive of the lived reality of most men’s lives – what society expects of them, and what they must try to be to meet these expectations.”

For men in both categories, Chinese medicine in the form of acupuncture and herbal medicine can be a strong adjunct to the other ways of managing the situation. Acupuncture addresses the shifts and movements of energy within the body. Herbal medicine can nourish and tonify it. Both can aid and improve sleep, which is key component to recovery. Men who have been diagnosed with mental health problems such as clinical depression, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, etc. who seek Chinese medical help must not stop the medication prescribed by their medical doctors. Always discuss any alteration to any medication with your prescribers.

Don’t wait till the rabid black dog has bitten you. Seek help. Consider acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

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