Found that article in The NY Times a few days ago which discussed men & their challenges opening up to women in their lives, abt their “stuff.”
So, I took it to a poll here in “stories” & asked how many of you a) think men still don’t open up to their women (nearly at all), vs. how many believe b) the trends have gotten much better.
The results were very interesting – one of the largest group of answers to a poll question we’ve posed: 83% of you said men, for the most part, still aren’t opening up, whereas 17% said it’s gotten much better.
I’ve gotten to know so many of you, personally, whether through this channel, or at events, over the past two yrs. Here’s the interesting trend I noticed in the responses: 1) MOST of that 17% who believe it’s gotten better were men; ones I know have been to therapy & have chosen already to work on themselves, & 2) the other part of that group contained a # of women who practice therapy, who’ve seen an increase in men coming in.
My takeaway from the above is this: men who’ve figured out how impt opening up IS to their health, happiness & overall well-being, believe that bc they’ve figured it out, many other men have as well. Likewise, the small sample size from therapist lead them to believe their change in patient profile is a reflection of society’s change.
Here’s the challenge – even when we hear stats like my least favorite “1 in 5,” we also hear percentages like: only 50% of those ever get help, & the #s are lower for men than women.
Those of us “woke” to the MH epidemic, who talk more, emote more, see patients more – we believe a dent is being made…a significant one. But, as per this article in the Times, as per your answers on the poll, as per general societal trends, MOST men (even if things have gotten slightly better), are still not opening up & sharing – let alone to a therapist, but even to the women in their lives.
Why is this? Here’s my theory – the progress we’ve made is on the far ends of the spectrum. The 1 in 5 campaigns alert men who are suffering w major symptoms that they NEED to talk to someone (not that they want to, proactively). Then on the other end, the LeBron James commercials for apps like “Calm” are telling high performance men, they need to be more proactive if they want to be even better at their craft.
Generally speaking – we still are not getting through to the masses, a very simple, but impt reality: we ALL suffer, we ALL go through pain, we ALL have stories, & we ALL stand to benefit from sharing – even to the (non therapist) women in our lives.
Men are told it’s weak to share (remember Dwight Gooden’s story), that we can just “forget the last play & move on to the next.” While I applaud the efforts of those who discuss mental illness/disorders publicly, & the LeBrons who discuss mental performance publicly, the reality is that the majority of men fall in the category of – dealing w shit & just not sharing it. Why is sharing “Ho-Hum” every-day stories so important? Bc the stories make sharing the new normal…& we need more of THAT.
If we are gonna make a significant dent in the MH & overall health of men, it’s not the extremes that will do it – it’s the everyday stories. I invite all men to share their stories on our hero platforms. Yes, no matter what you share, no matter how mundane it seems, you are a hero for sharing!