Never before has mental health been a topic so crucial to the very fabric of our society and community. Learning how to help men with their mental health is a skill we could all benefit from to help the men in our life.
While mental health is often misunderstood and miscommunicated, many of us have never been faced with more pressure, more often in more ways. If there was ever a time to get on the preventative front foot with mental health, this would be it.
The focus on men’s health is a little lagging in many ways. Availability, information and action are far behind where it needs to be to help men with mental health, so the question remains, how do we help men with their mental health?
How do we help the men in our community?
Education must be a starting factor if we are to help men with their mental health. It starts with support systems, guidance and accountability in an environment in which boys and men can learn and relearn how to be the best versions of themselves.
As I always say, the first step to change is awareness, and awareness is exactly what we need in order to start understanding that the current narrative isn’t working. For example:
- Many of the tools men use today and in the past to express themselves are not productive
- Many of the ways men know how to help themselves are no longer effective nor do they produce a positive outcome for them, those closest to them, or the wider community.
So what do we do to help men with their mental health?
Here’s a few tips to get started.
3 Tips to Help Men with their Mental Health
Whilst there is a myriad of different and varied approaches and tools to assist men with their mental health in a positive way, I have included three easy starting points and actions to get men moving towards a more positive mental mindset.
1. Any Exercise is Good Exercise!
The first tip to help men with their mental health is exercise. One of the most underutilised tools for emotional and mental health. It’s time we get out of our own way in terms of what exercise is suitable for men.
Just like all medicine has a place, all exercise has a place, especially at certain times of life and health. As an avid gym-goer, I understand there is nothing better than getting to the gym, lifting weight and feeling strong, however, there may also be a time that yoga and pilates is exactly what is needed to help men relax, rejuvenate and recover from the fatigue and stress they currently face.
We really need to break down the walls that keep many men from participating or trying a movement that would greatly benefit them simply because it’s not traditionally been seen as a man’s form of movement.
2. Start Journalling
A second way we can help men with their mental health is to open them up to journaling.
Now I know for a lot of men they probably find the notion of journaling unappealing however research has shown that there is an enormous amount of stress relief to be had when we physically write down our thoughts and emotions, and the simple fact is, there are a substantial amount of men starting to realise the very real benefits of journaling.
And if any of you are reaching for your phones, STOP!!!
The research showed there was a correlation in high-stress relief being achieved by writing their thoughts on paper (yes just like the good old days).
Our mind can work overtime and with men often being incredibly logical, they can often find it difficult to locate the emotions that really need to be seen and heard.
Teaching men how to process and release their emotions is the next step. A skill to be learnt and one that will definitely help men with their mental health.
3. Start Communicating
The third way we can help men with their mental health is to ensure we have open, non-judgmental communication.
We need to provide a safe space for not only men, but everyone in our community to tell us how they feel. To tell us what is going on for them, whether they articulate that in a way we understand or not.
Until our community learns ways to articulate, process and release emotions in a positive way, segments of our society will continue to struggle as they are today.
Whilst we as individuals and as a society learn positive ways to harness our emotions, it is absolutely vital in the interim that we provide a space to just hear each other. A space to just reach out and speak up, void of judgement and punishment.
Understanding that men, in general, are extremely solutions-focused helps us to help men with their mental health. Understanding how to preface the conversation, such as, does this person want us to help them with solutions or do they simply want an ear and a shoulder, can be the very thing that helps ?
Being a solutions-focused person does not mean men are always looking for fixes. Even the most logical people in the world need to be seen and heard.
And even those who are best at fixing everything are not always looking for a fix themselves.
Of course, there are many more tools, actions and ways in which we can help men with their mental health, the three above are just a drop in the ocean that we all need to start swimming in if we are ever going to change the narrative in helping men with their mental health.
You may also enjoy a number of podcasts I’ve recorded specifically about men’s mental health including:
- Podcast with AFL legend Paul Roos and his work in mental health for men
- Podcast with Beyond Blue Ambassador Tony McManus sharing his story
- Podcast with Alan Howle on how he hit rock bottom and the tips he used to survive