Young man sitting, fence in background

Depression doesn’t always look like sadness.

Many men face and overcome depression at some point in their lives. Usually, the symptoms are clear: sadness, lack of energy, changes in appetite, issues with sleep, or talk of suicide. But sometimes symptoms of depression can be masked by other behaviour.

By themselves, none of the signs below mean a guy is depressed, but the more he shows the more likely something is going on beneath the surface.

He’s angry and irritable

This can include being overly sensitive to criticism, losing his sense of humour, having a short temper, showing frequent road rage, being controlling, or being verbally or physically abusive toward others.

He keeps saying he’s “stressed out”

Sometimes it’s easier for a guy to talk about feeling ‘stressed’, as it carries less stigma than saying he’s feeling down or depressed. Some men also have a hard time articulating how depression is making them feel and use words like “stressed” or “numb” instead.

He seems a bit reckless

This could mean pursuing dangerous sports, driving drunk or recklessly, drinking more than usual, abusing drugs, or gambling compulsively.

He mentions ongoing physical pain or symptoms

Sometimes depression can show up as backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, or digestive problems that don’t seem to respond to normal treatment.

He isolates himself more than usual

It’s not unusual for guys to pull back from others in their life when they’re depressed. Social isolation is a major concern (the more a man isolates himself, the less likely it is he’ll be able to reach out to others for help) and shouldn’t be ignored.

Learn more about the symptoms of depression and what you can do to support a guy you care about.


Men's Health Week takes place annually in mid-June, during the week preceding Father’s Day. The week is not just a campaign, but a call to action for men to take better care of their health and for communities to support men in this endeavour.

Men's Health Week 2024