Radio and TV personality Tracey Lange believes that ignorance about – and stigma around – men and depression contribute largely to the worrying statistic that eight out of ten suicides are committed by men.

During Movember, which focuses on menâ??s health issues, Lange shares her thoughts with All4Women on men and depression.

Struggling under pressure:

â??Having been around men and women with depression, itâ??s a topic I feel passionate about,â? says Lange.

As a woman, being in close proximity to a man with depression, be they a partner or close relative, can be tough if you donâ??t have an understanding of what theyâ??re going through. When men are under heightened pressure, they behave differently and it can be hard to connect to.

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â??I read a study by Dr Jason Bantjes and Professor Ashraf Kagee from Stellenbosch Universityâ??s psychology department recently and they said men feel under extreme pressure when they feel required to perform so-called masculine behaviour. So when they are put into brackets of male behaviour â?? protective, strong bread winners who are unwilling to accept directions and canâ??t show their emotions â?? they become far less likely to want to show vulnerability because they donâ??t want to be deemed as failures.â?

Fear of showing weakness:

Some men might feel that showing their partners, friends or relatives their weaknesses could be seen as a sign of unmanliness. For those with a desire to be macho and show their bravado, itâ??s hard to show when youâ??re feeling down or youâ??re struggling to cope with something. When emotions are running high, failure to live up to such ideals can lead to feelings of shame or fear.

Abusive behaviours:

Reckless or abusive behaviour can be linked to depression. For a person suffering from depression, it can be tempting to try and ease the burden of those emotions through the abuse of alcohol, drugs, or any other kind of self-medication Perhaps theyâ??re tempted by gambling, extreme sports or unsafe sex. Whatever â??poisonâ? they pick, it could be detrimental to their health and wellbeing.

Expressing anger:

â??Sometimes, I find when people are struggling to find a way to express their emotions it can come out as angry or abrasive behaviour,â? says Lange. â??In this case, I realised that itâ??s best not to try and fight fire with fire, and if you find yourself in this sort of situation with a partner, itâ??s key to try and remain calm. It could come out in a bitter or sarcastic comment, a nasty case of road rage or just a general irritable attitude. Or it can lead to verbal or physical abuse. For a man, it could be the abuse of his wife or children.â?

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) says that calls they receive from men are at an all-time high and statistics point to a â??desperate situationâ?. Despite that, they say many men may not recognise their own signs of depression and, as a result, are far less likely to seek help.

Despite that, they say many men may not recognise their own signs of depression and, as a result, are far less likely to seek help.

Possible suicidal thoughts:

All of these emotions combined can lead to someone feeling unbearably desperate, with no way out.

Itâ??s important to seek help when you need it, but the sad truth is that some people donâ??t know how, or feel they canâ??t. For more information, visit SADAGâ??s website at or if you feel you need to speak to someone immediately you can call Lifeline on 0861322322.


Tracey Lange is an ambassador for Relate Bracelets, a 100%-not-for-profit social enterprise that creates opportunities to change lives through the making and selling of handmade bracelets. For Movember, they designed two bracelets: the Mo Sista and the Mo Bro, each with a closing in the shape of a small moustache.

Movember is an annual campaign in 21 countries around the globe which raises awareness of menâ??s health issues. The Mo Bro and Mo Sista bracelets are available at selected Woolworths stores nationwide.