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Issue #14: Challenging Men’s Mental Health: More Than Just Talking

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Trying to get men to emote and communicate in the same way as women is a disservice to everyone.


Suppose you’re going to have a conversation about men’s mental health, about the astronomical suicide rates in men. And choose to NOT talk about masculinity and the issues that men face.

In that case, you’ve essentially turned up to a forest fire with a single bucket of water.


There is trying to fight symptoms and then there is attacking the root cause.


Telling men to talk more and be aware of their mental health is great.


So is encouraging people to eat vegetables or exercise more.

Doesn’t mean they’ll do it.


We have to look at why they’re not doing it. What lies at the root of the behaviour?


When we tell men to talk more or emote more, we are throwing a lonely little bucket on an issue that burns with much more force than that can cover.


Men not talking is not some weakness of masculinity.


Some sign that it’s toxic.


On daddy-daughter time. Communication happens in many formats

It’s something to consider, to respect and work with.


Why many men don‘t talk about their challenges is vital to explore. Not just dismiss.


To simplify it down to a ‘fear of being open and vulnerable’ is missing and disregarding a lot.


It first needs us to look at how men process things. And, in large part, we turn inward to process. We sit with things, we reflect, we try to problem-solve.


These are wonderful traits.


And when paired with suitable, respect-based, and honest support, feedback, and guidance, we are processing machines.


Yet so much of what we tend to see in popular culture, in awareness campaigns, on social media, out of the mouths of many professionals, as well as many women I have seen and personally conversed with – the solution is simple: men just need to talk and share their emotions more.


I started with this and I’ll say it again…


Trying to get men to emote and communicate in the same way as women is a disservice to everyone.


We can bang our heads against the wall with this over-simplistic strategy that just hasn’t really seemed to have the most successful uptake. We can keep saying that’s because men aren’t doing it right.


Or we can look deeper.


Maybe it’s not right for (most) men.


We can dig beneath the surface and talk about the stuff that generates the behaviours and situations we find ourselves in.


That is true for anything.


Want to lose weight?


It’s so much more than just saying “Exercise more and eat less”. No shit. Everyone knows that. So why don’t they do it? Consistently?


We must address the psychology of the person.


Why don’t they do it?


Why haven’t they in the past?


Do they believe they deserve to feel fit and healthy?


Or do they have a deeper underlying belief that they’re not good enough, not worthy of love, belonging, happiness and joy – and so they sabotage themselves from executing on the types of behaviours that would potentially challenge that, like getting in great physical shape?


Yes, that is more work, because it is rarely as simple as “exercise more/eat less” or in the case of men processing emotions “talk more and open up”.


For men’s mental and emotional well-being, we must move past this.


Sure, it’s needed for plenty of guys to get the ball even remotely rolling, but it’s so much more than that.


We must address what lies beneath all of this before we look at strategies for ‘talking and sharing more’.


On daddy-daughter time. Communication happens in many formats

I’ve worked closely with hundreds of men over the last 10 years. I’ve had thousands of conversations with all sorts of men. And women in relationship with men.


And more than anything I have come to know that while men and women are amazingly similar in so many ways – more similar than we are different – as a rule, we are vitally different in some really fucking important ways.


Ignore those differences at your peril. And frustration.


For the women reading…


I offer you the invitation to get deeply curious about the men in your lives. Strive to understand them from their frame of reference and lived experiences. Seek to understand how they process, how they prefer to do it. What works. What doesn’t. How you can support their process instead of (potentially) imposing yours.


To the men reading this…


Understanding yourself as an individual and as a man is VITAL to shake all the patterns you have been wanting to shake and so you can truly step into becoming the man you are capable of becoming.


That involves work, it involves deep curiosity, introspection, and courage to face your shit, explore it, gain back the power over it and truly step into secure, grounded, sovereignty.


This is the work we do in the Everyday Legends Academy programs and community.


If you’re ready for real change and to make this year the one where everything truly transforms – where your life follows the path you’ve always wanted deep down – then I encourage you to  explore ELA and bring me and my expert team into your corner.


To access our potential we need a team around us. I do. The men I work with do. And if you’re serious about yours, you will too.