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Embracing the “Men” in Mental Health

By Azaria Ford

This happened to me
I am a woman. I have lived my life being told about the pregnancy, weight, looks, and even
more. My world revolves around the women in my life. I had my mother and grandmother teach
me how to act and the power that women hold. I even ended up going to an all-girls boarding
school for high school.

High school was fun for me. I was surrounded by people that understood
me and related to all the women’s issues I was going through. They were even there when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My mental health issues were something I didn’t have to be embarrassed about. The women around me gave
me pamphlets. I also received wisdom and stories from other women who told me that what I
was going through was normal. I felt safe even though I was afraid of what was to come from
having mental health issues.

After high school, I walked around with my head held high embracing my mental health
issues. I went to a female therapist. I talked to my female friends about my mental health, and
they talked about theirs. I went to discussions hosted by women about mental health. I was
finally comfortable with my diagnosis because the world didn’t treat me differently for it. That
bubble of bliss popped during my sophomore year of college. I had gotten the call that one of my
hometown friends took his life.

The moment I found out, I cried for what felt like hours. I gripped the phone hard, turning
my hands pale while I asked my friend’s mom “why?” She talked about how he had been
struggling with depression for a while. I hung up the phone and laid in bed asking more
questions. Why didn’t I know? Why did he feel as if this was the only way? Why did the world
treat him so differently than me even though we were fighting the same battle?


My story is not unique, that’s the problem
My story is sadly common. Men who face mental health issues do not have support,
education, or the privilege that women with mental health issues get. Nearly 1 in 10 men
experience some form of depression or anxiety but less than half seek treatment. 1

The world we live in today uses a filter system when it comes to men’s mental health. Just over three out of
four suicides (76%) are by men, making suicide the biggest cause of death for men under 35. 2
We wonder why this is and it’s because men are not allowed to talk about mental health. When
men are asked about why they don’t share their stories or ask for help, they say “I’ve learned to
deal with it,” “I’m too embarrassed,” “I don’t want to appear weak,” and much more. Before, men
were fighting this battle alone, but we see new organizations growing to support those men. 3


Here is a non-profit working to solve the problem Men have lacked the support and guidance when it comes to mental health. One non-
profit that is trying to help is called Movember. Movmeber was established in 2003, and since then, they have founded over 1,250 men’s health projects. 4 These projects include prevention, early intervention, and health promotion. 5

Their main goal is to work towards a world where men can
seek help for their mental health and be supported by everyone around them. For this problem to
be solved, they suggest six main goals: education, conversations, services that work for men,
bringing men and female together, community, and advocacy for all men. 6

With all six of these categories done, the lack of support and information for men who struggle with mental health can
be resolved. The Movember Foundation also encourages the growth of a mustache. During November, they invite men to grow mustaches to bring awareness to men’s mental health and other health issues. This movement throughout November not only helps spread awareness but collects funds that help the November foundation help even more men.


Here’s what you (the reader) can do to help, right now!
To start embracing men in mental health, we need to act. That can simply mean
having conversations with the men in your life, letting them know that there is no judgment toward
them for asking for help. You can also have conversations with other women. Help them understand
that for men to feel comparable we must also support and be there for them. You can also start
by having resources available. This can consist of phone numbers, websites, and pamphlets.
Some resources can be the Concern Hotline, Nami, Movember, and more. Like mentioned before,
The Movember Foundation is a great place to start. Log on to us.movember.com and donate to their foundation. Men’s Mental Health is a serious issue and cannot be ignored any longer. Reach out to the men in your life and be the safe space they need.

Reference

Affleck, W., Carmichael, V., & Whitley, R. (2018). Men’s Mental Health: Social Determinants
and Implications for Services. Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de
psychiatrie, 63(9), 581–589. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743718762388

Men’s Health Forum. (2017, September). Key Data: Mental Health. Men’s Health Forum.
https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/key-data-mental-health

Movember Foundation. (2021). Movember – Changing the face of men’s health. Movember.
Retrieved October 10, 2022, from https://us.movember.com/
40% of men won’t talk to anyone about their mental health. (n.d.). Priory. Retrieved October 10,

2022, from https://www.priorygroup.com/blog/40-of-men-wont-talk-to-anyone-about-their-
mental-health

Rivers, A. (2022, July 29). A Critical Look at Men’s Mental Health – MindWise Innovations.

MindWise. Retrieved October 10, 2022, from https://www.mindwise.org/blog/mental-health/a-
critical-look-at-mens-mental-health/

The Jed Foundation. (2021). Together, we’re Changing and Saving Lives.
https://jedfoundation.org/

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