We Need to Talk About Men’s Mental Health

California State of Mind Essentials

By: Jason Shoultz

On this Father’s Day, I’d like to ask something of dads out there. I realize Father’s Day is when dads are supposed to receive, rather than give. But I’m asking you to give yourself something. Because it’s critical. Give yourself a break.

Let me explain.

I’m not just talking to dads here, by the way. June is Men’s Mental Health Month, and this applies to all men.

There is a lot of talk about mental health these days: in the media, in politics and in our schools. Our kids are facing a mental health crisis, following more than two years of pandemic-generated uncertainty, school shootings and general unease about the future. It’s critical that we take care of them.

But lost often in discussions is men’s mental health. It’s as unfortunate as it is unsurprising. From a young age, men are encouraged to ignore their mental health. “Toughness” is the answer to problems when they arise. But as that conditioning has lasting generational impacts. With deadly results.

Consider these stats from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men.

In 2020, men died by suicide 3.88x more than women.

White males accounted for 69.68% of suicide deaths in 2020.

When you consider that there are about 130 suicides a day in the United States, that means we’re losing roughly 90 men a day to suicide. As a father of a teenage son, that scares the hell out of me.

The stigma around mental illness is behind our reluctance to talk about our own mental health. But we’ve got to get past that if we’re going to fix this problem. It starts with assessing and talking about how each of us is doing and ensuring that we have the right words, tools and support.

Not having the tools to handle stress can have some very negative effects, leading to arguments with a spouse or kids, challenges at work or substance use issues.

The folks at Movember are dedicated to men’s health, and have some tips for spotting the signs that someone may need help. They also have helpful resources if you need support.

You can also take the Inseperable pledge to break the stigma around men’s mental health here.

So give yourself a gift. The gift of taking care of yourself.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline


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