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Men and feelings

It’s often said these days that men don’t talk about their feelings, and that they need to. Certainly statistics on male suicide rates show that we need to look closely at anything which can help vulnerable men have access to meaningful support and meaningful strategies to deal with what life has been throwing at them.

One aspect of this subject that doesn’t get a lot of airtime is the need for men to be able to distinguish the feelings that need to be talked about – to identify them, name them, recognise their physical and emotional signs. When boys grow up in families and social contexts where feelings aren’t discussed, when they’re upset by events in life – being humiliated or pushed around by other children, when a family member dies, when they lose something they love, like a pet or a favourite toy – parents need to be able to help them identify and process the feelings they’re having so they can understand what they mean and how to deal with them in the future. This isn’t something we’re really that good at. The legacy of the old British ‘stiff upper lip’ is still with us.

Sometimes it’s said that men don’t seem to have trouble with ‘being in touch with’ feelings of anger, as if that somehow negates the value of men learning to open up and talk about what’s going on for them. Some of us are of the view that if men could talk more about those other feelings, maybe the anger would show up less often. Maybe. Displays of anger often accompany behaviour intended to dominate other people, including violence, but anger doesn’t always have to be present for violence to occur.

Which feelings are important for men to talk about? Vulnerability, fear, shame, powerlessness, anxiety, guilt, loneliness, sadness, loss – all these seem like good contenders. What would life be like if men were able to accept the presence of these experiences and share their concerns with the people they’re connected to? Would their relationships be deeper and more satisfying? Would they make better parents? Would they deal more effectively with the stresses and strains we all encounter in everyday life? 

We’d like to think so. Ask the men you know if they’ve taken on this as a personal challenge for their own development and for the benefit of the people they love. If they say yes, ask them what it’s made possible that they didn’t have before. Was it hard? Was it worth it? The answers may surprise you.

Greg Aldridge

CEO

EveryMan Australia

The barriers young men face when seeking help

EveryMan recently spoke to CEO of Menslink, Martin Fisk, about the barriers young men face when seeking help and how hard it is for young males to speak up when life gets hard.

Menslink was designed to help young guys in Canberra get through tough times with the least amount of damage to themselves and those around them. 

The organisation was established in 2002 out of a recognition that there are chronic problems among young men who don’t have positive role models in their lives who they can talk to about what they’re going through and ask for help. For young males, this lack of support can often manifest in challenging and harmful behavioural changes or social disengagement, and may lead to mental health conditions which seriously impact their ability to find equilibrium and connection.

Read more on the blog

#Saysomething

Over the past 8-weeks we have been collecting statements and videos from clients, individuals and staff members that capture the importance of talking to those around you when you are going through tough times. EveryMan employees were brave enough to step up and talk openly about the struggles they have faced in the past and how important it is to reach out when you feel overwhelmed or are experiencing a mental health challenge. 

We encourage you to follow our journey on social media and take a look, even share the content and videos that we have created.

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EveryMan and Sane Australia Forums

EveryMan online forums are full of people who want to connect. They understand because they’ve been there too. Plus, it’s anonymous, so you can say what’s really going on.

Each Tuesday, SANE Australia hosts a forum on a particular topic of interest. These topic not only help individuals going through tough times but also provide support and advice to family members who are supporting those facing mental health challenges.

Click on the button below to find out more.  
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