Our culture likes to remind us, in more way than one, that it’s expected for men to suppress their emotions and avoid being vulnerable in expressing their feelings. Alyssa Najera, LCSW, and Nikki Young, LMFT discuss the importance of men’s mental health, the risks of going unacknowledged, and ways to move toward a more accepting environment for men’s emotional and mental health.
In this episode we talk about:
A common stereotype is that men should not be sad, hurt, anxious, depressed or emotional. They are supposed to be the breadwinners of the family, make sure everything is in order, and are often looked to (and even take upon the role of) the “fixers” of society. However, the idea that all men should uphold this image of mental stability is completely unreasonable.
It is important to understand and consciously think about how mental illnesses can look different in men and women. In a general sense, signs of mental illness or emotional distraught (I.e., stress, anxiety, etc.) can be, but not limited to,
- Uncontrollable or increased anger and aggression
- Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs
- Increased irritability
Our society tells us it is more acceptable for a man to get in a fight rather than to get emotional or cry. However, in reality, 1 in 10 men in the United States experience depression and anxiety, 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual trauma, and men are 3 to 4 times more likely to complete suicide using more lethal approaches versus women who are more likely to attempt suicide using different methods. These numbers are just from reported cases and are likely to be much higher.
What is toxic masculinity?
Toxic masculinity is defined as “a cultural concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance, and that is socially maladaptive or harmful to mental health” by www.dictionary.com. When men’s mental health gets bad, the term toxic masculinity may identify how and why they behave a certain way as a result of unresolved conflict due to past or present trauma.
Celebrities and role models experiencing mental illness
Many men with a celebrity status have been speaking up about their personal mental health such as
- Michael Phelps
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
- Terry Bradshaw
This goes to show how many people secretly suffer from depression and other mental illnesses that you may not have expected based of the way they behave or their perceived success. Mental health is individualized and can vary in intensity. Seeking professional help doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, but that you are doing everything in your control to work through hard things and be the best version of yourself.
Therapists Uncut Challenge:
Think back to a time when you had a traumatic or distressing experience that was hard to talk about. Think about how it made you feel and try to process those emotions. Then, if you are ready, find someone you trust, either a family member, a close friend, a therapist, etc, and open up to them about that situation.
Think about all of the negative stereotypes you know, have been told, or struggle with about being a man and write them down on a piece of paper. Once on that piece of paper, find a way to release those negative feelings associated with the words on the paper by destroying the paper in some way, like ripping it up for example.
We’ve pulled together any resources mentioned in this episode and put together some links:
Man Therapy | Men’s Mental Health Resources
Infographic: Mental Health for Men | Mental Health America (mhanational.org)
Thank you for allowing us into your lives and helping us make mental health more relatable and a part of your everyday conversation! For more information or to access all episodes visit TherapistsUncut.com.
What is the Therapists Uncut Podcast:
The Therapists Uncut Podcast is a light-hearted, informative self-help podcast for grown-ups. It is hosted by three off-the-clock therapists hoping to validate your experiences, normalize therapy and therapists, and help you prioritize your mental health.
Who are the Therapists Uncut Podcast Co-Hosts:
Nikki Young is co-host of Therapists Uncut and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Nikki keeps it personable and professional. Yet, she always manages to keep the Therapists Uncut family and followers laughing. You may find her squirreling through topics, stories, or jokes, and all in good fun. Don’t worry because someone will bring her back around to the conversation. Nikki is a licensed marriage and family therapist in her private practice located in Modesto, CA, and she is also a Crisis Junkie at heart. In addition to being co-owner of a group private practice, she is also a crisis clinician responding to local mental health crisis and emergencies. Learn more about Nikki at catalystcounselinginc.com
Alyssa Najera is co-host of Therapists Uncut and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Alyssa is typically calm and composed on most days, but often has difficulty containing her excitement about the little things in life. She loves to laugh, spread positivity, and is often caught with a smile on her face. Alyssa is also a Child Welfare Services social worker and supervisor alumni, previous child sexual abuse forensic interviewer, trainer and consultant, and CEO of a group private practice in the small town of Oakdale, CA. Learn more about Alyssa at smalltowncounselingca.com or alyssanajera.com.
Thank you for joining Therapists Uncut, a production of AMP Smart Business. To learn more about Therapists Uncut and stay up on upcoming episodes, please subscribe and follow us on social media. As a reminder, although the Therapists Uncut co-hosts are licensed therapists, they are not your therapist. This podcast is not intended to substitute professional mental health counseling. If you need professional therapy, please contact your local provider or primary care provider. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you on the next episode of Therapists Uncut!
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Therapists Uncut is a production of AMP Smart Business.
Voice Over by Alexia Gloria