June is Men’s Health Month, so it’s the perfect time to make sure the man in your life is staying on top of his health needs and taking care of himself. That’s not limited to his physical well-being, though—it’s important for men to take care of their mental health, too.
According to Psychology Today, Men have higher rates of suicide and substance abuse compared to women but lower rates of seeking out treatment for mental health issues. Experts generally attribute the latter statistic to the fact that many men are more hesitant to talk about their emotions, or feel that they have to be stoic and look like everything is fine even in the face of difficult life circumstances such as divorce or job loss.
Men’s Health Month is the ideal opportunity for you to talk with your husband, father, brother, son or other loved one about their mental health, especially if you sense he is struggling with an issue. There are some red flags to keep an eye out for such as a tendency towards irritability and anger, mood swings or complaints about heavy stress or problems eating or sleeping. You may also observe that your loved one seems sadder than he used to, or isn’t showing much emotion at all. His behavior can also change from what it normally is—for instance, he may be spending more time away from the family or not keeping up with his job responsibilities, or he can even be drinking heavily or taking drugs.
If you feel the man in your life is struggling and going through a difficult time, ask if he wants to talk, and be prepared to sit and listen to him. Sometimes, finding acceptance and someone who truly cares about how he feels can make him feel better. It can also open the door to talking about further mental health treatment. This can be especially critical when the concerning behaviors or red flags have been ongoing for more than two weeks, which is generally considered a sign of a major depressive episode.
Finding a therapist who can work with your loved one can be especially helpful and a primary care physician can be a good referral source (as well as confirm the underlying cause is not physical). There are many times that medication will be recommended as part of mental health treatment. There are a lot of different kinds of medications and the process of finding the right one can take time and guesswork, and sometimes there are side effects to deal with.
How DNA Testing Supports Men’s Health
A home DNA test can come in handy in this situation, because your loved one’s genetic profile can be used to determine which medication is best for him. Our Mental Health DNA Insight® genetic test can show users how their body will likely respond to more than 50 common psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. With this information, your loved one can work with a health care provider to determine the best medication plan for him, eliminating wasted time and getting him on the road to wellness faster.
Treating a mental health disorder isn’t limited to therapy and medication, however. A man may also want to explore changing his lifestyle habits because sleep, diet and exercise can all play an important part in supporting a man’s mental health. All of these things can help him feel more positive –he is taking care of himself and he will feel healthier, which can improve his outlook and mood.
You can help your loved one make these beneficial lifestyle changes with two Pathway Genomics products that are ideal for DNA testing for men’s health. PathwayFit® and FiT iQ™ are two tests that examine genetic variants for a wide variety of dietary concerns. FiT iQ™ can tell men their genetic predispositions for certain eating behaviors; how their body reacts to substances such as alcohol, lactose, caffeine and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; and their propensity towards weight loss. The PathwayFit® test includes all these insights and also analyzes the body’s nutritional needs for several vitamins and provides dietary guidelines with recommended ratios of proteins, carbs and fats to consume based on the user’s specific genetic makeup.
Both tests also can help men jump start their fitness plans. The DNA-based results can show men their aerobic capacity, how their body is affected by strength and endurance training and how exercise can impact their weight loss. The PathwayFit® test also analyzes how a man’s glucose, blood pressure and HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels may respond to exercise. Both tests provide comprehensive results that can be used by men to make meaningful changes in their wellness plans.
DNA testing for men’s health is a cutting-edge way for the man in your life to stay strong and healthy—not just physically, but mentally, too. Use Men’s Health Month as a jumping-off point for a lifetime of wellness for the man in your life. Show him you care about him and about his well-being with a Pathway Genomics test. Learn more about all of Pathway Genomics DNA health tests today.