Men and women experience mental illness differently: several studies have shown women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression, while men are more likely to experience substance abuse and antisocial disorders. Though that’s not to say men never struggle with anxiety and depression, and vice versa. But according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men who do struggle with these disorders don’t really seek treatment.

Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reviewed previous data collected from 21,000 men aged 18-44. The data revealed nearly nine percent of men living in the US report daily feelings of depression or anxiety, but only four in 10 men with these feelings took medication or spoke with a mental health professional. What’s more is the fact researchers found these rates varied across race and ethnicities.

For instance, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic men were less likely than non-Hispanic white men to report daily feelings of anxiety or depression, while non-Hispanic black and Hispanic men who did report these feelings were less likely to seek treatment.  In fact, there was almost a 20 percent difference when it came to seeking treatment.

The report found this “significant racial and ethnic disparity in treatment utilization was associated with lack of health insurance coverage.” Stephen Blumberg, an associate director for science with the CDC's NCHS, told HealthDay there may also be added social and cultural pressures for black and Hispanic men when it comes to their mental health.

"These pressures, which include ideas about masculinity and the stigma of mental illness, may be more pronounced for men of color," Blumberg said. "And these same forces may lead men of color to be more likely to deny or hide feelings of anxiety or depression."

If not for lack of health insurance and societal pressure, Blumberg and his team find these rates stem, too, from the general mental health stigma; prior research shows it’s a consistent barrier to accessing treatment.

Experts and mental health advocates frequently point out the disparity between mental and medical health and treatment. Certainly progress has been made, but in order for both conditions to be considered equally, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Source: Blumberg SJ, Clarke TC, and Blackwell DL. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Men’s Use of Mental Health Treatments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015.