Managing men’s mental health: You are not alone

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

“I need help.”

That’s something I have always been too afraid to say. For years, I have been trained to just keep moving and to keep puttering along. But everyone needs help at some point and we need to start asking for it.

Mental health, especially men’s mental health, is rarely talked about and that needs to change.

What is happening now?

According to Mental Health America, over six million men suffer from some degree of depression, yet it often goes undiagnosed.

Today’s world sheds more light on mental health, but seemingly throws men to the side. According to the CDC, males make up 49% of the world’s population, but contribute nearly 80% of all suicides. Most people know the textbook definition of depression and anxiety. We have it shoved down our throats with no real substance; all these numbers mean nothing without doing anything about it.

My emotional well-being has been a constant process for me since I was young, whether I realized it or not.

In elementary school, I was told I had anger issues. I didn’t know how to express said issues, so I scratched my face so hard I had scratches all over, just to get some emotion out of me.

In high school, I suffered from constant anxiety and depression. Whether it was applying to colleges or being locked in my house in the middle of a pandemic, there was always an external factor affecting my mental health.

I will never forget the look on my mother’s face during my senior year of high school when she walked into my room, just to see me bawling my eyes out. She was scared and because I hadn’t talked to her, it made it worse.

What should you do?

Talking to someone — anyone, even — is better than bottling it up. Letting yourself open up is something society needs to praise.

Why not try therapy? There’s a stigma that surrounds the term. Telling a stranger all your deepest fears and secrets, and suddenly that will help? Per MHA, over half of adults that suffer from a mental illness receive no help. I had the same idea about therapy — that it would feel like I am accepting defeat.

To create a perfect version of yourself, you are often pressured to have no flaws — you have to be this specific height or have these specific friends or be in these specific organizations.

That’s not true. It’s normal to be sad. It’s alright to be on medication. It’s OK to tell someone how you really feel instead of pretending you’re perfectly fine.

Why me?

I am a 20-year-old college student, trying to balance seven classes, an upcoming internship, extracurriculars, friendships and just time to eventually take a nap. I have two loving parents and a great support system in my family. So why am I the one who has to walk through these struggles?

I know I am not alone.

This problem affects more people than just me. I would speak about other people’s experiences, but they are never talked about. For years in my friend groups, any sign of emotion would be brushed off and forgotten about. Sitting down and actually discussing what’s on our minds was never part of the conversation.

I’m a journalism major, but maybe I should switch career paths solely based on the acting I do to make people think I’m always happy. It’s not healthy to hide your feelings away and while I am an experienced pro at it, spilling my emotions still is scary.

Help is always available

What if people think I am weak? What if I get told I am faking it for attention? Should I even tell someone? All of these questions have slipped into my mind and it only does more harm than good. According to Forbes, 73% of 25 to 35 year olds overthink at a chronic rate.

Most of these types of opinion pieces include a statement about how you should treat yourself if you’re feeling down. Sure, going out and getting ice cream on a whim may give you instant gratification, but you’re just putting a band-aid on an ever- growing wound. Nothing will ever get fixed if you keep it to yourself.

One of the most beautiful lyrics in music is from “Yikes’’ by Kanye West. The 2018 song that opens with, “Shit could get mena- cin’, frightenin’, find help / Sometimes I scare myself, myself.”

Make sure you talk to someone so you don’t scare anyone else.

If you or someone you know is suffering on campus, call Quinnipiac’s Counseling Services at (203) 407-4020 or email at [email protected].