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Boys need better access to mental health care. Why aren’t they getting it? By Julie Compton 12/15/18

Boys need better access to mental health care. Why aren’t they getting it?

“If you can’t turn to someone in your life and say how you are really feeling, then you’re only going to end up hurting yourself somehow down the road.”

Dec. 15, 2018 / 12:10 PM EST

By Julie Compton

Throughout high school, Alexander Sanchez was severely depressed. He thought about suicide, and he didn’t know how to explain what was wrong or ask for help. Instead, Sanchez said that whenever he wasn’t in school, he would lie in bed all day, “not eating, not being happy, being almost not there.”

It wasn’t until Sanchez, who grew up in College Station, Texas, got to college that a friend convinced him to see a psychologist, who diagnosed him with depression. In hindsight, Sanchez said he did not reach out for help sooner because he believed that men should be self-reliant— an idea he believes he picked up from Tom Cruise and other macho characters on TV and in movies.

“I think I had really internalized this emotional stoicism that I know I was supposed to have,” said Sanchez, 21, who is now a senior studying psychology at New York University.

Mental health has become a crisis among America’s youth, and experts say the unique challenges and needs of young men are not receiving enough attention. Doctors, teachers and family members may not recognize the symptoms of depression, which in men can include anger, irritability and aggressiveness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Men are also less likely than women to “recognize, talk about and seek treatment” for depression, which is sometimes stereotyped as a women’s problem, the agency said.

While teenage girls attempt suicide more often than teenage boys, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, boys are more likely to die by suicide. Suicide rates for teenage boys and girls rose steadily from 2007 to 2015. In 2015, there were 1,537 suicides documented for boys ages 15 to 19 and 524 for girls, according for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read the full article here on nbcnews.com.

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