Columbus, Ga. – In today’s world there are some traditional male roles that many people still follow such being a strong leader, a provider for their family and also to never show emotion because it can be perceived as weakness. Dr. Albert Eaton, a licensed psychologist with Piedmont Columbus Regional, says that ignoring these emotions can lead to more complex health issues.

“If you don’t deal with it. It can to terrible things. It can lead to illnesses so G.I. problems, heart problems, muscular problems, and worst case scenario is suicide,” said Dr. Eaton.

Now according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men die by suicide four times more often than women. On the flip side, the non-profit organization Mental Health America reports that more health professionals diagnose depression in women more often in men. But more than 6 million men experience symptoms of depression, and most go undiagnosed. So why do men choose to not seek help with their emotions or seek help with some mental struggles?

“There’s often a perception of if I’m strong then I don’t have emotions but you know everybody has emotions male, and female, it just looks a little different. To me I would rephrase that. To tough people emotions are part of life. If you’re really tough then deal with your emotions too,” said Dr. Eaton.

And instead of going to a psychologist or other qualified health professionals others may choose a different way to escape their hard feelings. Some may resort to using alcohol or drug use, and the problem with that is those “solutions” actually just make the problem worse.

“People want to resort to using alcohol and drugs, and they don’t cure anything. They don’t really solve the feeling problem. They may numb you out for a moment but the problem comes back worse because you have another problem. It has the illusion of working for a while until things get so bad that they’re now catastrophic,” said Dr. Eaton.

Emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety are usually shunned. Dr. Eaton did say that anger seems to be the emotion most men have no problem displaying. For example, in sports to play with a fury and passion is celebrated. Even in that arena, playing angry isn’t always the best practice.

“A lot of people who are really skilled at violent sports will tell you ‘don’t get angry.’ Because when you get angry you make bad decisions and then you lose. So just in the name of winning learn to stay calm and learn to deal with your emotions. Even if its a high performance environment, that’s the key,” said Dr. Eaton.

For those people who start their journey with a health professional, Dr. Eaton says it’s going to take time learning new skills to deal with emotions in a healthy way.

“Most people it takes a long time to get to the place they’re at. And it’s going to take time to learn new skills to work through the emotion and to come out healthy on the other end,” said Dr. Eaton.

It won’t be an easy journey, but the benefits of working on your mental health are worth it.

“You’re doing something to help yourself and help your family. Stay healthier, get healthier and live longer better lives,” said Dr. Eaton.