20 Mental Health Resources for Men's Health Awareness Month
Believe it or not, we're almost half-way through 2020. It has been a crazy year. With all the chaos, isolation, and suffering, we need not only to focus on our physical well-being, but also our mental well-being.
Unfortunately, for men, there is a significant stigma in our society when it comes to mental health. From a young age, we learn to stifle our emotions and bury our feelings while we buck up, man up, nut up, and shut up. Much of this unwarranted shame has led to adverse consequences. According to the CDC, middle-aged men account for nearly 70% of all suicides.
We don't want you, or any of your bros, to become another statistic.
That's why every June, we celebrate Men's Health Month, which comes directly after the Mental Health Awareness month in May. Not only do these months shed light on the debilitating issues plaguing male physical health, but it helps to kill the taboo facing the male psychological health.
Spreading awareness and educating the masses isn't always enough, though. For men, it can be not very clear, and even demoralizing, to ask for help with their mental well-being.
We need to eradicate the stigma surrounding men's mental health. So, if you or a close friend are experiencing trouble, we've put together a list of twenty reputable sites, organizations, and apps dedicated to providing men's mental resources in hopes that you, and all men, live a healthy and happy life.
Shit gets tough, and life plain sucks sometimes. Unfortunately, many men cannot fight their demons and take their life too soon. To combat this horrible statistic, we need to raise awareness and provide support. It's an unspoken taboo of society that we should scream from the hilltops: your emotional well-being is essential. There are always people that will love you, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. Right now, I love you.
And please, don't let me and your other loved ones suffer by taking your life. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is there, 24-7, to ensure that you live to see another day. Everything is confidential and free, so you shouldn't feel ashamed for reaching out for help. If you want to lend a hand and volunteer, they are always accepting applications on their website.
1-800-273-8255. Save it in your phone. Save it in your friend's phone. We need to do everything we can to reduce unnecessary suicide.
Please. I'm begging you. This shit is important.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) may conjure up images of a crazy-haired patient in a straight jacket cowering in a padded room, but that's not it at all. The NIMH provides a breadth of information on several psychological afflictions, ranging from anxiety to ADHD to suicide prevention.
The NIMH is active in studying the causes of mental health, engaging in clinical research, and training professionals to care better for their patients. They are the largest funder of mental health disorders globally.
Also, the NIMH offers live events and activities for those searching for mental health education and treatment. There are webinars, lectures, papers, newsletters, and social media engagement events. The name may appear daunting, but the services they provide are vital to educating and promoting a positive lifestyle.
The Freudian images of a therapist notating your problems while you lounge on an oversized couch are all but over. In today's technology-driven world, the benefits of therapy are at your fingertips with apps like TalkSpace.
These virtual therapy sessions are completely personalized. In the beginning, you perform a self-assessment, and the program matches you with the therapist that best fits your needs. Once you start your therapy, you'll work with the same professional every session, and they will often respond up to two times per day. If you need a little more time, you can always schedule a video chat.
The only downside to TalkSpace is that it can be expensive. Plans start at $65 per week, and only go up from there. But, when compared to traditional therapy sessions, which are $90 per session on average, it may seem like a bargain. Plus, you have daily access to your therapist. Trust us; your mental well-being is more than worth it.
4. Man Therapy
On the front page of their site, Man Therapy truthfully states: "As it turns out, there are worse feelings than being kicked in the giblets."
Man Therapy's goal is to fight suicide and substance abuse among men, and they do so in such a relatable way: by throwing humor into the mix. They provide plenty of links and resources, like the number to a crisis prevention hotline and safety planning apps for those in distress. Also, they thoroughly discuss positive lifestyle choices, like improving sleep, dealing with life transitions, and being a better father.
Our favorite aspect of Man Therapy is the 20 Point Head Inspection. It's a brief mental check-in survey that allows you to understand the causes of your issues. It's like taking your car to the shop to get a tune-up, and even though everything appears to be running fine, there may be an issue or two that may cause a significant breakdown in the future.
Numerous studies have conclusively proven how meditation can combat the effects of mental illness. In general, meditating offers you more mental clarity and a better ability to deal with emotional waves that may adversely affect your actions.
For beginners, you'll need a meditation guide so that your practice can indeed be relaxing and productive. Our two favorite meditation apps on the market are Headspace and Calm.
Headspace offers free guided meditation courses and training. The user interface is professional and easy to navigate, so you shouldn't have any trouble starting. For maximum effect, you'll want to splurge on the $70 annual subscription. It may seem like a lot, but I'm telling you, it's worth it.
Calm is a little less strict with their mediation sessions, and offers minimal guidance so that you can navigate your mind on your own. Not only does it provide these relaxing, soul-searching sessions, but they provide advice on sleep, tranquil background music, and masterclass mindfulness programs taught by the industry's leading experts.
Overall, if you are starting on your meditation journey, Headspace will grant you the necessary guidance to grow. But if you have a bit of experience with meditation and want to explore your thoughts on your terms, we suggest using Calm.
Founded by family members of those suffering from poor mental health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is an excellent resource for those experiencing psychological turmoil, as well as those caring for loved ones facing these issues.
NAMI provides information about a variety of mental afflictions, detailing common symptoms, prevention methods, and suggested treatments. They have a full online library of videos explaining these psychiatric conditions, which are great tools to educate yourself better. They also offer the NAMIHelpLine, which provides free support and guidance for those that are having difficulty dealing with their illness on their own.
Their main goal is for people to understand that they are not alone. With chapters all across the country, they provide links for discussion groups, both virtually and in-person. By listening to other people's battles with mental illness, you may discover novel tools and techniques to cope with your troubling issues.
7. What's Up
Negative thought patterns can wreak havoc on our mental health. When we get into these thought spirals, we tend to worsen the effects of anger, depression, stress, and anxiety. What's Up is an app created to address and adjust these patterns to better your mental well-being.
What's Up combines both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help you cope with negative thought patterns, which can trigger mental illness. CBT is a well-renowned psychotherapy approach to modify negative thought patterns through science and practical problem-solving. ACT is a mindfulness-based therapy technique which teaches people to accept their feelings and thoughts, rather than fighting them.
Some unique features of the app include a comprehensive diary to detail your emotions, a habit tracker, and even breathing techniques. Our favorite aspect of What's Up is the catastrophe scale, which provides a neutral basis for you to gauge the severity of any problems you may be experiencing.
8. Men's Health Resource Center
We all know that bodies change with age, maybe except Rick from Accounting, who still thinks he could have gone pro if his high school gave him some more playing time. But, we often overlook that our mind changes with age as well. The Men's Health Resource Center mission is to not only help men deal with their changing physical health but also encourage men to take control of their changing mental health.
The Men's Health Resource Center offers loads of information about mental issues, and they do a fantastic job of normalizing these problems. They emphasize that your issues may seem unique, but others can help, and your current emotional state, just like your physical state, is never set in stone.
For example, if you were a skinny kid growing up, then adopted a sedentary lifestyle full of pizza and beer, you will most likely have weight issues. The same goes for your mind. If you are seemingly happy, but experience a dramatic event, like divorce or bankruptcy, your mental health may deteriorate. It's vital to understand that your emotional state doesn't last forever, and you always have the power to make a change. The Men's Health Resource Center gives you the ability to adopt that positive change.
Science and our emotional well-being haven't always been the best of friends, especially since everyone's psychological issues are unique. Fortunately, the app Happify effectively uses science to positively influence your mental state by providing tools for you to take back control of your thoughts.
Happify views happiness as a skill that needs nourishment, just like the strengthening of a muscle. It uses interactive games and activities to help train this emotion by rewiring negative thought patterns. On their website, Happify believes that by utilizing proven scientific techniques, your mind can change for the better, known as neuroplasticity. Even though humans are hard-wired for pessimism, by fortifying the mind like a muscle, we can learn to deal with everyday stresses more effectively.
Personally, interactive games aren't my thing. I'd much rather dig deep into the unknown caverns of thoughts through meditation, but after trying Happify for a few weeks, I changed my mind. I mean, that's the whole point of the app.
Are you worried about that big presentation next week? That's probably normal. But, if you're concerned that a meteor is going to strike the earth at any second, and it's affecting your daily health, you may have an anxiety disorder.
Nearly 20% of men will experience anxiety at some point in their lives, and there is no shame in that. Apps like Mindshift are using evidence-based approaches to help ease the symptoms of anxiety, panic, and perfectionism.
Like What's Up, Mindshift uses an interactive CBT-based model to help you deal with the stresses of your world. They teach you to face your fears and provide coping cards to help readjust your thinking. They even have something called belief experiments, in which you willingly put yourself in challenging, but controlled situations to gauge your actual level of anxiety. We suggest you give Mindshift a shot to face your fears and reduce your worries.
Every November, millions of men rock glorious mustaches to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer. It's called Movember. But, this hairy upper lip movement is more than just physical health education, but also deals with male emotional health.
One of the goals of Movember is to reduce the suicide rate of men by 25% by the year 2030. By focusing on early intervention, engagement, and working to their strengths, they hope that men can live more prosperous, fulfilling lives.
If you would like to be part of the Movember movement, throw away your razor and introduce your majestic crumb catcher to the world. If, for some reason, you can't roll out the lip luggage, you can still support male health by volunteering or donating. Still, it's better to live with a ridiculous mustache than not to live at all.
Yes, yes, it's another CBT-based app, but that proves its effectiveness. Moodkit uses professional therapy techniques and simplifies them so you can utilize them in your daily life. Overall, the app focuses on four essential tools.
- MoodKit Activities: A set of activities to improve your mood and psychological well-being.
- Thought Checker: Manage negative feelings by modifying your thoughts, given a specific situation.
- Mood Tracker: Monitor your mood enhancement process by charting your progress throughout the day.
- MoodKit Journal: Notate and observe your mood throughout your day with a variety of pre-formatted journaling templates.
I shelled out the $4.99 for Moodkit, and I love it. The tracker is my favorite aspect because it provides a visualization of my mood history throughout the day. I can track my progress and can refocus my mind when I tend to see my mood wandering too much. I'm sure you'll get the same benefits when you use the app yourself.
When we think of mental health, we tend to think about the classics: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and others. But one aspect of psychological well-being that we often overlook is substance abuse. Addiction can lead to the classic mental diseases, but also poses a significant risk within itself.
That's where the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) comes in. Founded by Congress in 1992, this organization aims to advance the behavioral health of our nation. In the coming years, they have laid out a strategic plan focusing on five main priorities: combating the opioid epidemic, addressing severe mental illness, advancing substance abuse prevention and treatment, improving data collection, and strengthening health practitioner education.
To be 100% honest, I don't believe any drugs are harmful - well, maybe heroin and crack - except when they negatively affect yourself or others. The key is moderation. Sure, you may need a joint every once in a while to take the edge off, but when it starts affecting your loved ones, or negatively impacts your mental health, then you may need to seek some guidance from SAMHSA.
14. Life Coaching
Some of us need a little guidance from a real human being to push past our negative thoughts, and that's where life coaching comes in. There are people out there dedicated to helping you through your journey toward self-development, and will tailor a program to suit your specific emotional needs.
Now, it's essential to do your research before you select a life coach. Unfortunately, unqualified individuals are spamming gullible customers, promising improvement but delivering jack shit. Before you choose a life coach, be sure to read some reviews, and even send them an email. Quality coaches will take the time to listen to your problems and understand your journey, rather than peddling their program right away.
One life coaching agency that we've had great success with in the past is Strongmen Coaching. They have individual programs, group coaching, podcasts, and so much more. They genuinely want you to better yourself, and have the professional experience to boot.
15. PTSD Coach
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is no joke. We frequently associate this disorder with veterans returning from war, but it's not exclusive to soldiers. Men who have faced severe and prolonged childhood trauma can develop PTSD as well. Unfortunately, this disorder can lead to other psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, and even suicide.
Luckily, the US Department of Affairs has created a program for those who are coping with this disorder. The PTSD Coach app promotes education, professional care information, and support opportunities. If you are unsure about whether you are experiencing PTSD or not, don't wait to find out. The PTSD coach app has plenty of self-assessment tools and resources to help you battle your struggles.
There's also an online version readily available for those that tend to stay away from Smartphones. It's 2020, and you should probably have a smartphone by now, but hey, who cares what we think, as long as you are keeping up with your mental issues, it doesn't matter what platform you're on.
Reddit isn't just for trolls. There are tons of subreddits out there that provide excellent information about every topic under the sun. In our case, one of the best subreddits for men's mental health is, well, r/malementalhealth.
There's relatable memes, funny anecdotes, but most importantly, critical information that tackles all aspects of mental health. We suggest you sort by "Top All Time" and scroll till your finger falls off. Okay, that's a bit much, but you get the point.
The best part about this nearly 20,000 subscriber subreddit is the sense of community. When you view the comments, you'll begin to understand the different issues that others are experiencing and gain new perspectives. Lessons from their journey may translate to various aspects of your own. You'll start to realize that there are people who are dealing with similar issues, which will provide a sense of acceptance with your struggles. We'll upvote that!
17. Your Friends
Boys night shouldn't just be about ripping Fireball shots and killing it on the dancefloor. Friendship is about sharing an emotional connection with someone, and genuinely caring about their well-being, both physical and mental.
Although, opening up about emotional issues to your friends may make you feel vulnerable. There are hints of self-doubt, and always the underlying question: "Will they think less of me?" Well, I have two answers to that question. One, if they are your true friend, they will help you through your problems no matter what. Two, your relationship with yourself should be your top priority. It would help if you weren't worrying about what others think of you until you can truly appreciate yourself. Real positive emotions come from the actions you take, not from others.
So, grab a few beers at the pub and have a bro-and-tell session. Open up about what's bothering you and work through your issues together. It always helps to have an outside, caring voice walk you through your problems as opposed to the harmful thought intruders that have been living in your head.
We tend to think of positive mental health as a new-age trend. I mean, in the old days, if you felt sad, they would have you institutionalized, lobotomized, or euthanized. But, there are organizations out there, like Mental Health America (MHA), who have been fighting for your mental well-being for nearly 111 years.
MHA understands that our mental health is a vital aspect of our overall wellness, and through early identification, prevention services, and integrated care, their end goal is successful recovery. Their 200+ affiliates fight for the rights of those dealing with mental health issues all across the country.
Their motives center around one main principle: prevention. The B4Stage4 philosophy is about treating mental illness before it reaches critical mass. By catching early warning signs, you can set up a plan of action to combat the disease before it takes hold of your life.
19. Beyond Blue
As Americans, we tend to live in our bubble apart from the rest of the world, think of health issues from a national perspective. But, bros all over the world are facing these debilitating psychological problems.
If you've been following The Bro Journal closely, you'll know our fearless leader, Dan Castellano, hails from down under. I love that Aussie like a brother from another mother. So, I wanted to shout out to Beyond Blue, a website promoting positive mental health for Australians.
Beyond Blue's goals are to provide support, information, and mental health education for all Australians, no matter how young or old. They focus on the classic mental disorders: depression, anxiety, and suicide. They want you to be your personal best.
If you're a native Aussie, or just a big fan of Steve Irwin (because we all are), then you can volunteer your time and money to Beyond Blue and help to provide our vegemite-loving brethren across the Pacific with necessary mental health education.
20. The Bro Journal
That's us! Yes, The Bro Journal is an amazing, well-written masterpiece of mindfulness exercises, gratitude, and self-development. But, our journal, and everyone involved is so much more than that. We genuinely care about your mental health and overall well-being.
Sure, you may think this is just a ploy to sell our product, but here are the facts - this nearly 4000-word article took me an hour to plan, six-and-a-half hours to write, and another hour-and-a-half to edit. That's nine hours total. I'm not making money on this. It's not laden with keywords or meant to sell you journals. We sincerely want to help you be your best self: no gimmicks, no thrills, no bullshit. Check out our first seven days for free, and if you don't have the money to buy one, but you think mindfulness and gratitude will be helpful in your emotional well-being, then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will personally do everything I can to help you through whatever you are going through. We'll do it together, as bros. Please do not hesitate to reach out. I'd rather know your story from you, and not your obituary. Let's work together.