De-stigmatizing Mental Health for Men

By Mike Jacquart

Anyone who’s read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray – or any married man for that matter! – knows how different the sexes are. And yet, when I began writing Climbing out of Darkness, I was only vaguely aware that men resist counseling and prescription medication for mental health conditions. I did not realize until later this was true to that extent.

That’s probably because, after being mired in darkness for many years, and eventually diagnosed with depression and ADHD, I was excited to learn there was a medication that would help me get better. For some reason I cannot explain, I think I innately understood that needing a medication for a chemical imbalance in the brain to treat a mood disorder, is no different than a diabetic who requires insulin for his physical health.

But this rationale is not the case for many men. As a result, overcoming or de-stigmatizing mental health for men is the focus for this new series of blog posts and podcasts.

There are a number of reasons why men resist treatment for mental health issues. Pride too often gets in the way. “There is nothing that wrong with me!” Society tends to see counseling as a signal that we are deficient in some way, unable to figure out our problems on our own. This is particularly true for men, who are hardwired to be problem solvers. We want to be macho, tough it out, figure the issue out just like any other problem in our life.

It’s understandable to a certain extent. If you are a man, conditioned to be “the strong one” in the family, the person that other people look to assistance, the idea of you being he one seeking help for a mental issue is a foreign, even unpleasant concept.

What gets overlooked is that depression and other mood disorders aren’t problems to be solved, but illnesses to be treated. It is still very difficult for many people to understand that taking lithium if you suffer from bipolar disorder is no different than taking a prescribed medication if you are prone to migraines.

There are a number of methods that mental health practitioners are using to de-stigmatize this issue that will be addressed in this series. One involves changing the view of being “tough” – that it’s not a sign of strength or toughness to avoid problems that are wreaking havoc with your life. They explain to men that it’s a sign of toughness to confront, rather than ignore, problems.

I am not a very macho guy, but I understand the idea of addressing a given issue. In fact, I venture to say that most men, myself included, would see taking on a problem -even one I may not understand like a mental issue- as a challenge to be met “head on”, not an issue to be swept under the rug.

Problems don’t go away because we wish they didn’t exist. I think most men would get that. What do you think?

Mental health for men is a new series of blog posts and podcasts developed and distributed by Fresh Hope for Mental Health Portions are excerpted from Mike’s book, “Climbing out of Darkness: A Personal Journey into Mental Wellness.” For more information, contact Mike at

How to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues: Tips for Moving On and Making Every Day Joyful

How to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues: Tips for Moving On and Making Every Day Joyful

The holiday season is always a time of joy, excitement, and celebration. But after all the festivities are over, many people can find themselves struggling with post-holiday blues. This feeling may be caused by a sense of emptiness or disappointment as the excitement of the holidays fades away. Fortunately, you can take steps to beat the post-holiday blues and get back to feeling joyful again.

  1. Accept that it’s normal to feel a bit down after the holidays are over. Acknowledging your feelings is
    an important part of overcoming them.
  2. Get moving! Studies have shown that exercise can boost your mood, so make time for daily physical
    activity. Even walking or running around the block can help you feel better.
  3. Treat yourself to something special. The holidays may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t
    indulge in a bit of self-care. Buy yourself something nice, take a relaxing bath, or plan a fun outing with
  4. Reach out to your loved ones for support. Don’t be afraid to talk to your family and friends about
    how you’re feeling. They may be able to offer words of encouragement and help you find ways to
    manage your emotions.
  5. Take time for yourself. Make sure to get enough rest and incorporate activities into your day that
    make you feel good, such as reading a book or listening to music.
  6. Give back to others in need. Volunteering is a great way to lift your spirits and give back to your
  7. Practice gratitude. Make a list of all the wonderful things you have in your life, such as family,
    friends, health, or even just a cozy home. Gratitude can help you stay positive and focus on the good
    instead of dwelling on the bad.
  8. Join a Fresh Hope support group. Talking through your blues with others can be so helpful in
    processing your feelings. You may only need the group for a short time. And your participation in the
    group may even expedite your journey back to daily living. Plus, your participation will help others in
    the group.

With a little effort and self-care, you can beat the post-holiday blues and return to feeling joyful again. By accepting your feelings, getting active, and reconnecting with the things that make you happy, you can make every day feel like a holiday.

The holiday blues are temporary feelings of sadness that some people experience at the end of the festive season. It typically lasts for a few days or weeks and can be treated with self-care and positive lifestyle changes. Clinical depression, however, is a serious mental health disorder that requires medical treatment. Symptoms of depression may include persistent feelings of sadness, guilt, or worthlessness that last for more than two weeks and interfere with daily life. If you think you may be suffering from depression, please seek professional help.

No one should have to feel down in the dumps after the holidays. With these tips and a little self-love, you can beat the post-holiday blues and make every day joyful.