Mary Ann Childers

(CBS) CHICAGO A Chicago area hospital says more and more men are coming in for help for depression, but there are still many men who don’t seek treatment.

CBS 2 Medical Editor Mary Ann Childers reports experts say that’s because they don’t realize they are depressed, they just know they feel tired all the time, can’t sleep, are irritable or are losing interest in things.

David Maltenfort knows those feelings. He has fought depression since his college years. Admitting this illness, he says, is not easy for many men.

“They feel that they’re supposed to be the rock in the family, and they’re supposed to be the one who’s strong and taking care of everything,” Maltenfort said.

Tony Soprano’s therapy sessions sent ratings for the HBO series “The Sopranos” soaring. But did the TV tough guy encourage more real men to talk openly about their feelings and fears?

The coordinator of the mood and anxiety disorders program at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare says he is seeing an increase in men seeking help of late, but the stigma of depression is still there.

“Men have been socialized in our culture to be stoic, and not talk about those things,” said therapist Robert Farra, Ph.D.

Farra, who’s treated male patients from ages 16 to 90, says the consequences of depression can be deadly and may be a major reason that more than four times as many men as women die by suicide in the U.S.

But treatment can work. Nearly 80 percent of depressed adults see improvement when they are treated with medication, talk therapy or a combination of the two. The most difficult part may be taking the first step.

“It’s incredibly hard for men to say ‘I need a hand,’” Maltenfort said.

Doctors say as many as 6 million men may suffer from depression.

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