Movember & (Hopefully) A New View Of Manhood: Let’s Talk About Mental Wellness
The ‘new view of manhood’ is something of a mystery. We know now that telling men to ‘man up’ is detrimental to their mental wellbeing, and we’ve all become super acquainted with the term toxic masculinity. We know it’s toxic for both women and men. We also know that like women, men have feelings that need to be set free. But even with this progressive knowledge, men continue to feed into their own stereotypes, trading vulnerability for machismo and emotional intelligence for self-pride. According to founders Dan Doty and Sascha Lewis of Evryman, an organization that brings men together to exercise their emotions so they can lead more fulfilling lives, there are tools to overcome hypermasculinity. With the help of Doug Prusoff, the Movember Foundation’s Senior Manager of Corporate Development, they teamed up to create ‘The Next-Gen Men’ by providing practical tools for men to become more authentic while raising money for men’s health in the process.
In honor of Movember, we’re raising awareness for men’s health through skills we learned from the founder’s of both of these amazing organizations. Below are words to, literally, live for.
“Men are Taught to Repress Their Feelings and Not Be Vulnerable”
More men are taking antidepressants than ever before. The biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK is suicide. Doty explores why this is the case by saying, “Men today are struggling to build deeper connections to others, adding to an epidemic of loneliness. Men are hurting and, because of this, they are hurting themselves and they’re hurting other people.” With the right mindfulness tools, peer-to-peer guidance, and exploratory retreats, Evryman hopes to debunk the stoic repressive stereotypical man. Virtually anyone – regardless of training – can start and run their own men’s groups in their hometown. Doty believes that when you come together in a group dynamic, you’ll notice how common your pain or struggles are to that of someone else’s.
“To Be a Man of Less Anxiety, I Had to Be a Man of More Words”
Globally, every minute, a man dies by suicide and in the United States. In fact, 75% of suicides are by men. Talk, ask, listen, encourage action, and check in. These are 5 steps the Movember Foundation encourages people to take in order to prevent suicides. There are two people in this scenario: a man who wants to talk and man who wants to listen. But what if you don’t know how to do either? Thankfully, the foundation offers resources on how to open up to a friend or family member and resources on how to reach out to a friend who’s struggling. Even the man with few words has something to say. “Be a man of more words, because talking saves lives.”
“No Technology. No TV. No Alcohol”
Creating open spaces without the use of your phone, liquor, or anything else to get the conversation going is fundamental to being your true authentic self. Evryman groups talk about everything from fatherhood to the fear of failure with nothing distracting them along the way. Think of it as an alcohol anonymous meeting, but in lieu of talking about your dependency issues, members talk about their most pressing issues; they talk about the things they’re afraid to talk about. One member, an army veteran named Aaron Blain, said that Evryman has allowed him to take care of himself better and to take care of other people. Since then, he’s led tech-free wilderness retreats with other veterans who were also feeling lost like him. And if you can’t join a group, psychotherapist and author of the book “Disconnected,” Thomas Kersting says to simply confide in a trusted friend.
Movember is the reason your coworker won’t shave his beard all month, but more importantly, it’s the leading charity changing the face of men’s health: both physical and mental. Evryman is the reason the men in your lives are better partners, dads, friends, and co-workers. By prescribing to the ethos of these organizations, we can all do our part to raise awareness.