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    Best Stories About Men's Mental Health Stigma

    I write this at the close of Men’s Health Month, but the point remains year-round: Men are struggling due to the societal expectation for men to be “masculine” — to be tough, stoic, brave, and unyielding in the face of adversity. However, this isn’t the reality. I’ve written about it before: men are four times as likely to die by suicide than women. Suicide is the biggest cause of death of men under 35 in the United Kingdom. More than six million men are affected by depression in the United States alone. And, because of this expectation for men to be strong and resilient, they are less likely to talk about their struggles. Men from every walk of life are struggling to cope in a world that tells them their emotions aren’t valid. That’s why we wanted to curate a roundup of 10 incredible stories from male Mighty contributors. Covering everything from hiding mental struggles to diversity, these are the topics we need to be discussing openly as a society. 1. “Men: It’s OK to Stop Hiding That You’re Struggling” by Andrew Jensen Image via YouTube/Movember “After two attempts to take my life in a three-week span, I realized things needed to change.” Published in partnership with the leading men’s health charity The Movember Foundation, professional golfer Andrew Jensen shares the strength he found in admitting “weakness” and how society’s definition of strength couldn’t be more opposite to the truth. 2. “Why Are Men With Borderline Personality Disorder Still in the Shadows?” by Andrew Lampe Photo by Matteo Raw on Unsplash “For the whole year of the therapy, I was the only guy in a group of up to eight.” At 38 years old, Andrew Lampe was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), a disorder stereotypically seen as a “female” diagnosis (despite evidence that it is equally prevalent among cisgender men and women). Here, Andrew shares his experience with therapy and wonders: why are the men with this condition living in the shadows? 3. “Unharm Our Sons: Black Fathers, Masculinity and Mental Health” by Araya Baker Getty Images photo via pixelheadphoto “Help me help Black boys liberate their hearts and minds, before it is too late. I cannot shoulder this responsibility alone.” Working now as a suicidologist, Araya Baker shares his experience as a suicidal teen to discuss the need to reform how Black fathers respond to masculinity and mental health. Toxic masculinity, he argues, is even more inherent between Black fathers and their sons due to the legacy of trauma and hypermasculine gender socialization, teaching Black boys to reject emotion as weakness. 4. “What It’s Like to Be ‘Other’” by Conor Bezane Getty Images photo via The Good Brigade “After coming out three times in my lifetime, I’m tired of feeling like I’m other.” Conor Bezane shares his experience coming out in three different identities: as a gay man, as a man living with bipolar disorder, and a man who is a recovering alcoholic. These three identities combine to show what it’s like to be a man who doesn’t necessarily fit into society’s view of masculinity, and the “Otherness” this stigma causes. 5. “The Problem With How the Military Treats Men’s Mental Health” by John Gray Image via contributor “I spent almost a decade in the military and in that time, you learn things.” Writing about his experience returning from Afghanistan, John Gray shares how the military treats men’s mental health and how he learned that men have to be able to show emotion without fear of reprisal. 6. “Why It’s Important for Men to Talk About Their Mental Health” by Mark Aulakh Image via contributor “I didn’t talk to anyone about my depression because I thought I was weak, and I was embarrassed.” Writing again in partnership with Movember, Mark Aulakh shares his experience with depression when it just isn’t “understood like that” in Indian culture. And yet, finding a support network in his partner, family, job, and medical assistance allowed him to emerge from the other side of his depression and the stigma around it. 7. “Come on, Guys: We Need to Talk About Our Emotions and Mental Health” by Robert Schmus Photo by Christopher Lemercier on Unsplash “Did keeping it in make it worse for you? If so, then let’s try plan B.” Short and sweet, Robert Schmus presents a call to action for men to talk about their mental health and emotions in general. What’s the point, he asks, in maintaining the status quo when it hasn’t exactly worked out for men? 8. “The Paradox of Taking Care of Yourself as a Black Man in America” by Sinclair Ceasar III Getty Images photo via Bernardbodo “Alas, this is my charge. As a Black man, I’m called to discover a way to beat the statistics.” In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and the Black Lives Matter protests, Sinclair Ceasar III shares what it’s live to be a Black man living in America when racism and violence are commonplace. This is one of the most eloquent articles I have ever read on the topic. 9. “How I’m Breaking the Cycle of Toxic Masculinity for My Sons and Mental Health” by Steven J. Sluiter Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash “When I was admitted to the hospital, I had to decide if I wanted the boys to see me. I knew they would see me differently.” Understanding that it is our chance to teach the next generation of boys to be different, Steven J. Sluiter shares how the narrative he heard growing up affected how he approached his own mental health and how he teaches his sons about their emotions. This is an important read for men in general, but particularly fathers and soon-to-be fathers. 10. “Shedding Light on the Complex Problem of Suicide in Young Men” by Tom Greene Getty Images photo via Sneksy “I’m not a Pastor or a Therapist. I’m the Dad down the street trying to find some answers.” Tom Greene calls it like it is; that the high rates of suicide in young men is an epidemic. He lays out the facts and the statistics that you need to know about, asking ultimately for us all to share them with our families and friends. It’s on us to change the way we approach our mental health as men. I hope that you connected with these articles and that, at the very least, they helped you feel a little less alone. As a man living with trauma, depression, and anxiety, I too understand the feeling that our mental health struggles need to be hidden lest we are mocked and ridiculed as not being “man enough.” Even when I did start speaking out, I received a little pushback from those who don’t yet understand the danger in the way men have been taught to repress their emotions. But, I didn’t stop. Now, I’m glad I spoke out. I understand myself more than I ever did before, living in the dark, trying to be somebody who I’m not. Men, it’s time we come out of the shadows of what society expects us to be. We’re human beings, and human beings have emotions. We’re not meant to be machines; we’re meant to feel. So, stand with me. What have you got to lose?

    Community Voices
    12 people are talking about this
    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    What do men do for “self care”? #mightymen

    I ask because I feel women do the bath,nap,nails program, but what do men do to give themselves a break? Video games? Friends, hoops what? Maybe I should be exploring what y’all do cuz nails and baths seem like more work than relaxation, and I’m not really “girly” girl. #Selfcare

    11 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    #ItsOKMan know that you are not alone. Although it may not seem like it the light will come and the tunnel will end...they all do and you WILL be thriving on the other side ♥️♥️♥️🧔🏻🧔🧔🏾🧔🏿🧔🏼

    1 person is talking about this
    Community Voices

    #MightyPoets : Social Demolition #ItsOkNotToBeOk

    #MentalIllness #Anxiety #Depression #ItsOKMan #MightyTogether #mightymen #taketwo #MentalHealth

    Let's teach our sons and daughters how to be human above all,
    As opposed to lessons depicting what a "real" man or woman entails,
    Let's not confine them to rigid boxes,
    That when they don't fit their assigned quarters,
    the damage caused to them may be irreparable,
    Boxes make splinters and stakes, you know.

    Let's teach them to be brave and scared
    To fail and succeed,
    To handle disappointment and channel anger
    To be strong, to help, to persevere, to love, to be kind, to FEEL.

    Let's not stick labels of attributes on the sides of boxes...
    Tailor made for only but a few:

    "Check your genitals, get in the box
    Memorize your characteristics
    Keep fingers and toes inside the gender mould at all times
    Lest the world should snip them off"

    Don't let this be their instruction

    Let's teach them to be humans by renewing our humanity,
    We created a macabre production line, mincing out marred and mutilated souls...
    Instead let's create a revolutionary new line,
    It will produce characters that do not want to kill themselves or eachother,
    The new line will not adhere to "one size fits all" labels,
    A fallacy, designed to eradicate diversity
    Instead the characters will be encouraged to step out,
    We should not be confined to live in boxes,
    For the sooner we'll be buried in them!

    3 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Feeling Depressed

    Feeling very depressed right now.. been struggling a lot lately with money and feeling like a failure... I have a job interview tomorrow that I hope goes well and will hopefully put me back on track career wise and financially. My current job is okay but is not enough to to take care of my bills. My boyfriend has been struggling to find work too. Just a lot going on... #Depression #Anxiety #CheckInWithMe #itsokaytonotbeokay #Movember #mightymen #ItsOKMan #Anxiety #Depression #PTSD #BPD #MensMentalHealth

    1 person is talking about this
    Community Voices

    If you feel like something just isn't right, #ItsOKMan

    Long before we have a formal diagnosis, and perhaps before the words "depression" and "anxiety" or some other mental illness enters our heads, our earliest indication that something is wrong is simply that: something just isn't right.

    Maybe you don't find joy in the usual things anymore, or you feel a sickening jolt when you hear the screech of a car's tires nearby. Maybe it's a lot of similar things, one on top of the other, and you begin to ask, "what's wrong with me?"

    When society says you have to be strong and fearless to be a "real man," it can be hard to attach anything solid like "depression" and "anxiety" to what's going on with you. I get it; I've been there too. I spent too much of my life in a state of uncertainty, unsure what was wrong or what was really right. After all, it's all I knew. Depression? Nah, I didn't think that was possible. Surely I couldn't have . I couldn't have either, despite feeling scared a lot of the time, or feeling utterly lonely even in company. I couldn't tell others; they'd mock me, I thought. They'd say I was making a big deal over nothing; I wasn't being a man. I needed to "man up."

    But if you feel this way... #ItsOKMan . You aren't alone, and the best thing I ever did was actually talk about it. Having thoughts and feelings like this doesn't make you any less of a man; our biology is pretty much the same as that of women, after all. Mental illness doesn't discriminate based on which chromosomes we have.

    Talk about it. Don't be afraid. We're right there with you, #mightymen . It's going to be OK.


    9 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    I don’t get why I can go to a party with family one time and then the next time I don’t want anyone touching me or entering my personal bubble.
    I have read where some people get depressed or sad when this happens but for me I get angry. I have talked to my therapist about this and he said that it’s a trained response. I taught it to myself from when I was young and has become a defense mechanism.
    I respond to personal issues with either laughing or anger. My anxiety issues tend to drive me up into anger more often than not. I am working on my anger/ anxiety issues. I take medication to help me keep balanced and when I’m going to concerts or peoply things I have another medicine to help get me through it.
    If you are struggling with anger issues and you have issues you might want to see if they are related. It might help.

    2 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    I’ve been told that my posts are sad and that I need to just “move on” to get over everything I’ve been through these last two years. It’s really not that easy. The upcoming holidays are the worst. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Random FB memories with meaning. Old pictures. They’re all horribly painful and the feeling of loneliness and not being wanted surges through my body like venom. I even created a private FB group to post thoughts to just so I didn’t feel like some outcast and that I was being judged by my posts. No more. I’m not sorry that my posts are sad...because I am. Heartbroken describes it better. When something in your life happens that you never expect...those feelings are normal. As much as it sucks, it really is ok. I struggle daily with my depression still, but I will not hide my feelings and cover them up just to look happy on the outside when I know different on the inside. I see sadness in my eyes when I look in the mirror. I hate it, but I’m trying to find the happiness still and will continue fighting for those that can’t or won’t. #ItsOKMan #mightymen #dontgiveup #realmenhaveemotions #bigboysdocry

    4 people are talking about this