Gender sterotyping plays an insidius part in how men learn to deal with their emotions.  There are many infulences at work.  The first is family and immediate caregivers who teach males how men should conduct themselves in family life.  Then there are societal pressures around how men are supposed to show up in the world.  Then, there is the media which if filled with commercials, movies, TV shows and representations of menwho are tough, have things under control and respond with aggression, never with vulnerability.  There is the implication that men should not be affected by emotional things.  It all adds up to make men feel badly about themselves when the don't match those expectations and creates a barrier to asking to help.

Here are few of the main reasons men don't ask for help:

  1. They don't know how to ask.  Statistically women tend to suffer from depression in larger numbers but they also are more likely to identify symptoms and seek professional and medical help.  Diagnosing depression is a process of narrowing things down and eliminating other conditions.  A therapist will ask a man how often he is depressed, to what degree, does he feel sad or hopeless, and for how long.  Men may not always have the emotional language to explain what they are experiencing.  Or they may be embarrased or thnk it's unnecessary to report.
  2. Sadness is taboo.  One of the main criteria for diagnosing depression is sadness.  Men are not as likely to talk about "sadness" unless there's been a death, which then makes it acceptable.  It's not something that men typically feel comfortable with.  It often boils down to gender sterotyping, in that men are more often raised with family and social messages of what is appropriate for boys versus girls.
  3. Crying is forbidden.  Tears are a common expression of the internal pain of depression but a man who cries may be called a wuss or worse.  They learn from an early age that shedding tears is unmanly.  The United States is not the only place where being an alpha male is celebrated.  Many cultures believe makes should be tougher than females an this can create many levels of emotional contriction.  Showing emotions through tears is often considred unacceptable to men, and to the people around them, so shring their pain is risky.
  4. Emotions are no the common vernacular.  Men tend to say archaic things about feelings, such as, "You should'nt be feeling this, this is not OK."  Or they say nothing at all.  Not anly are they uncomfortable talking about their feelings, they lack familiarity with the uncharted area of emotions. 
  5. They tell themselves to just get over it.  Men often make excuses about reaching out for help because they truly believe their emotions should not be an issue.  Men often feel stupid about having emotional pain.  It takes work to help them realize sadness could be a response to an old trauma that has been triggered, and that it is wired in their system through their experiences from the past.
  6. It gets masked by addiction.  Using alcohol or other drugs or turning to sex or other activities can make people feel good in the moment and take the pain away.  Many come to the conclusin that the "benefits" of drinking and drugs is emotional-coping.  It is a powerful moment when they realize they have used drugs and alcohol to self-soothe.  It is the first step toward developing healthier coping skills.  Part of the new skill is to learn to express sadness rather than covering it up.

Men don't typically choose to put themselves in a place of vulnerability. They are more comfortable with acting out and expressing angry types of emotions.