Men’s Mental Health.

Taking back June.

The month of June used to be Men’s Mental Health Month but it has been hijacked by the radical left to celebrate a “marginalised” group of people. Which then by inference makes them not so marginalised. 

Nowadays it seems like everyone gets an awareness period: The LGBTQ community with Pride Month, Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and hundreds of days in between. 

Everyone except the men who build the world and keep it running. 

And I am not just talking about white men, I am talking about men across the board.

Men have been overlooked and their mental health has been ignored. However, the beauty and curse of the masculine mindset is that we will not stop living or stop doing what needs to be done if we are ignored. We will push on regardless of how we feel. 

This becomes a problem when we are left in this mindset for too long. After a while, it becomes too much and we try to deal with our loneliness and emptiness by ourselves and ultimately it gets us nowhere or leads to ruin.

We need to do something that will set us free and help us escape from the rat race.

We need fulfilling hobbies for our mental health. We need to do things we enjoy once in a while so that we can wide down and enter a state of rest, even if it is active or productive rest.

We need this for the sake of our hearts and souls so that we can recharge to give more of ourselves to our families and society without burning out.

We need other men too. We need each other. 

Who better to share our war stories with than our fellow warriors? 

Someone who understands our struggles and whom we can soundboard with.

That is what this article is about helping the world understand men better.

Therapy for men. Yay, or Nay?

“Most therapy approaches are not designed to help the male brain deal with pain or find solutions, hence therapy feels worthless and men skip things that feel worthless, also male depression is usually based on feeling helpless, powerless and unable to affect one’s life or environment. 

Therapy models focus on helping men feel heard and loved instead of restoring their sense of personal power.

Men need solutions, not just feelings.” – Adam Lane Smith (licensed psychotherapist and Attachment Specialist).

Men don’t want to sit and talk about their feelings for the next 10 years and pay a boatload of money to be pitied.

Men would rather die than sit and say “I am disabled and need help for the rest of my life” and unfortunately that is what most therapy approaches are doing, men are looking for solutions and guidance in how to apply those solutions. 

Men need solutions, not just feelings.”

In his book Killing Lions, John Eldredge writes that men loathe looking like fools and feeling inadequate because it screams “I need you to bail me out because I can’t handle my life.” 

John also writes the following,” Men come at the world from a conquest standpoint, but women approach life from a relational viewpoint. That is why women don’t feel diminished by needing someone to lend a hand; they have a far more communal way of living.

Now I’m not saying there isn’t a therapist out there that can help men, there are many qualified psychologists but not enough of them have the experience to relate to and understand the fears a man has deep within the corners of his heart. 

Men and women are two very different creatures and need to be treated as such, but the therapy model treats them the same. That is the problem.

Men definitely need to feel heard and loved but that can’t be it, that should be coupled with solutions.

To a man just feeling heard and loved means the same as being pitied. That will make a man feel utterly useless like he will never solve any problems.

Men need to feel like men and be treated as men and not pitied like you would a boy. 

But so many men are insecure and feel like a boy in a man’s world because they never had a father who initiated them into manhood and secured that in their hearts, they were tossed into the deep end and told to swim and by the way, you’re a man now. 

That does not make us feel like men. All that does is make us feel empty and we don’t know why. 

The type of therapy a man needs is much different to what a woman needs. 

We need a brotherhood, a tribe of men.

The scary Statistics.

In 2021, the suicide rate among men was almost four times higher than the suicide rate among women. While men make up around 50% of the U.S. population, they comprise nearly 80% of suicides (Men’s Higher Suicide Rate: Understanding and Addressing It, 2023).

South Africa is ranked number 10 on the list of countries with the most suicides with 23,5 per 100 000 population. Of the 13 774 suicides reported in South Africa, 10 861 were men whilst 2 913 were women – translating to a rate of 37,6 per 100 000 for men and 9,8 per 100 000 for women (Suidice among Men, n.d.). 

That’s roughly 525 000 a year, 10 000 a week and 1400 every day. World Wide.

The Solution.

Research has revealed that men going out for “boys’ nights” is essential to their well-being. But not just one night a week, twice a week. 

“The study conducted by Robin Dunbar, a psychologist and director of Oxford University’s social and evolutionary neuroscience research group, determined that men must physically meet with four friends twice a week to reap the full benefits of male friendship (HealthSpiritBody).”

“Benefits of strong male friendships include a stronger immune system, the release of endorphins, an overall decrease in anxiety levels, and (apparently) even higher levels of generosity.” (HealthSpiritBody)

There you have it.

One of the biggest contributors to men’s mental health problems is isolation. If a man is stuck at work the whole day, 7 days a week, and works himself to the bone for his family (which is one of the greatest privileges for a man to be able to provide) he will have mental health issues. 

That is why this study by Robin Dunbar is so vital for people to hear. Men need a break too. 

Don’t get me wrong we love working to provide. There is no greater feeling than spoiling the woman you love and giving her the life she deserves and one day doing the same for one’s children. 

However, a man can only work so long. It’s like the story about the two lumberjacks. One works all day and the other takes an hour a day off. But the one who takes the hour off chops more wood because he rests and sharpens his axe.

Men need rest. We are of better use to everyone alive.

Along with boys’ nights, men need to be working out. There is no question about this.

And here is why:

The Science of Hope Molecules.

During exercise, your muscles contract, secreting chemicals into the bloodstream. 

One of these chemicals is Myokines, which are small proteins that travel to the brain and act as antidepressants. 

Myokines also referred to as hope molecules, can enhance your overall health by improving your mood or ability to learn and protecting the brain from the effects of ageing.

Because hope molecules cross the blood-brain barrier, they can also positively impact your mental health by reducing symptoms of depression or trauma and increasing resilience to stress. One study even suggests exercise has such a profound impact on reducing symptoms of depression that it should be offered as an evidence-based treatment option.

While myokines are directly linked to exercise and improvements in the body and brain, it isn’t the only happy molecule that can make you feel good. Neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, are also released during exercise and can positively impact the brain (Foy, 2023).

Aside from the Hope Molecules, exercising makes a man feel strong, competent and capable. 

We have to be strong for our families, whether it is our wives or girlfriends, they need us to be strong. 

More importantly, we need it for ourselves.

Bedros Keuilian said “When you can control your physiology, when you can control your body all of a sudden you can climb out of that depression and anxiety. Why is that? Because if you have no sense of purpose and wonder where to start, start with YOU. You become your own purpose, your body becomes your purpose. You are on the quest to develop the idealised body for yourself because you know the type of body you respect, so be that guy”

He is right. When I work out and train hard my self-esteem goes up and I respect myself more. And that feeds into every other aspect of my life.

Where is God in all of this?

We are created in the Strength Of God gentlemen. We have the fierce, passionate and courageous heart of God. What is there to be afraid of?  

Now I might not have all the life experience of some of my readers and even though I have only had 23 years on this planet I have had my fair share of stress and anxiety, household stresses and my internal fears. 

That fed into my very confusing adolescence, my anger and my facade that everything was ok. I was governed by my fear of rejection and being judged. 

I missed out on so many beautiful opportunities because of my fears and anxiety.

My parents could not help me because they were going through everything with us and trying to survive. So the only person I could turn to was God.

By reading the Bible and connecting with Him I could break free from my coping mechanisms like porn )which in turn just fueled the anxiety because of the side dish of guilt that came with it) and ignorant optimism which was me suppressing my feelings.

Rumination is one of the leading causes of depression. Constantly thinking about our problems without taking action leads us down a very dark path. So if we fill our hearts and minds with the Word Of God and all his promises for us and tap into His divine wisdom then no thought can get the better of us.

We can try to fix it ourselves but it really doesn’t work.

The thing that is broken cannot heal itself. 

We need something outside of ourselves to fix us and that something is God.

I encourage you, sir, to think about this and reach out to the One Whose Image We Bear. 

Here are some of my favourite Bible Versus for anxiety

Psalm 18:1-3 ESV

I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

Matthew 11:28-30

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” 

Isaiah 40:31

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary.

They will walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV)  

“There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.”

Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.

Conclusion.

Gentlemen, we are at war with the evil in this world. The evil that wants men to be weak and harmless so that they can push us around and enforce their will upon us. But no more, I encourage you sir to stand up against this and become the man you were intended to be. Make the hard choices and build your character, sharpen your mind and build your body. 

Become hard to kill and let’s pull others up so that together we can stand in defiance of tyranny.

Let us not be the gardeners in the war but the warriors in the garden.

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