Men struggle in getting mental health help, experts say

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Mental health is one facet of life that men tend to overlook due to a fear of appearing weak, statistics show.

Because of that, millions of men go about their lives not knowing they may be suffering from a mental health disorder.

L.C. Baker, of Richmond, has a lot going for him: a job, a wife and kids, but there was always something eating away at him.

"Lack of patience, waking up feeling down, even though everything I dreamed of was right in front of me," he said.

His condition worsened and started to take a toll on his family life.

"My wife that pointed out that 'This isn't the person that I remember you being when we got married,'" Baker said.

Eventually, Baker sought therapy, which was not an easy decision for him nor other men in general.

"I didn't want to let my parents down, I didn't want to let my wife down, I didn't want to let my sons down, I didn't want to let my friends down," Baker said.

James Harris, a therapist who spearheads the "Men To Heal" movement, helps break those stigmas.

"I talk to a lot of women. They have sons that don't want to open up, they have stubborn fathers, they have husbands that are stuck in their ways," Harris said.

Harris has treated young and old men for the past seven years under Men to Heal, hosting events and "different sessions focusing on overall wellness for men, primarily mental issues."

Therapists and counselors who focus on men's health give patients like Baker the reassurance that they're not alone in their struggle.

"These feelings are very much so valid, these feelings are very much so real," Baker said. "Let's find a way to connect, and know there's plenty of us out there dealing with the exact same thing."

According to Mental Health America, more than 6 million men in the U.S. suffer from depression, but it often goes undiagnosed.

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