The Pandemic & Relationships: How Men are Impacted Emotionally by COVID

Even as social distancing and safety restrictions loosen, the fall-out of the global pandemic is far from over. In fact, when it comes to men and mental health, it may just be the beginning.

“Many men are finding themselves in new and different roles as a result of this pandemic,” says Eric Klein, M.D., chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute. “For example, they are out of work or are working around the clock at home looking after kids with their partners all while worrying about their family’s health and their own health.”

If serious relationship problems and/or separation or divorce are also in play, the chance of mental health meltdowns increases. Considering the distinct stressors that COVID-19 is having on you (or the man in your life) may help you navigate some of the difficulties.

A recent online survey conducted by the Cleveland Clinic indicates that the pandemic may have a bigger impact on the mental and general health of American men than they may want to admit.

The survey, which polled approximately 1000 US men, found that 77-percent reported their stress levels had increased as result of COVID-19.

  • Fifty-nine percent felt isolated and nearly half (45-percent) reported that their emotional/mental health worsened during the pandemic.
  • Almost two-thirds of men surveyed felt that COVID had a bigger negative impact on their mental health than the 2008 housing crisis and recession—but they rarely talk about it.
  • Forty-percent said they were struggling to stay healthy during the pandemic.

Although the pandemic has had impact on everyone to some extent, researchers believe that men have more difficulty addressing their mental health.

“Many men are having difficulty adjusting to new and different roles such as increased caregiving responsibilities or helping their children adjust to remote learning while keeping up with online work, household chores, and other responsibilities,” says Dr. Michael Young, service chief of The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt, a psychiatric hospital in the Baltimore, Maryland in a related article for Healthline. “Additionally, the reduction of income and uncertainty surrounding investments and financial stability is playing a large part in increasing men’s stress levels.”

Lack of physical social interaction in the workplace and travel (for both business and pleasure) may have contributed to the general sense of dissatisfaction and malaise. Although women experience these same conditions, they tend to have a better ability to process their emotions.

If you or a man in your life is demonstrating erratic behavior, such as angry outbursts, rage or depression, working with a skilled therapist may be the first step to finding emotional stability and healing.

“It has never been more essential for men who are suffering from a decline in mental health to seek help,” Young says. “We know that several million men are affected by depression in the United States every year and that suicide is among the leading causes of death among men. And the pandemic is increasing the incidence of mental health crises, which are already so prevalent, even further.”