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Real Men. Real Depression.

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Depression is a serious but treatable medical condition — a brain disease — that can strike anyone, including men. In America alone, more than 6 million men have depression each year.

Whether you're a company executive, a construction worker, a writer, a police officer, or a student; whether you are rich or poor; surrounded by loved ones or alone; you are not immune to depression. Some factors, however, such as family history, undue stress, the loss of a loved one, or serious illnesses can make you more vulnerable.

If left untreated, depression can lead to personal, family, and financial difficulties. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, however, most people recover. The darkness disappears, hope for the future returns, and energy and interest in life becomes stronger than ever.

Men are less likely than women to recognize, acknowledge, and seek treatment for depression. To address this concern, NIMH launched the Real Men. Real Depression. campaign to educate the public about depression in men. The campaign, which ran from 2003 through 2005, became one of the nation’s first formal public efforts to raise awareness on the topic.

As part of the campaign, documentary filmmaker Leslie Wiener captured men speaking candidly about their experiences with depression. Personal accounts from a wide spectrum of men—a retired U.S. Air Force First Sergeant, a firefighter, a writer, a publisher, a national diving champion, a lawyer, a police officer, a student, and others—became the Real Stories of Depression video series.

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