Asking for Help Doesn’t Make You a Wimp

By Mike Jacquart

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness,” writes Pastor Brad Hoefs in his landmark book, Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis.

Society, men especially, tend to see counseling as a signal that we are deficient in some way, unable to figure out our problems on our own. That is not the case.

And yet, an automotive tinkerer prides himself on being able to take on many car repairs on his own. He likes to think he has all the answers and never needs help from anyone else. To confess to requiring assistance, let alone admit to having a mental health condition, often results in being deemed weak and less manly.

As a result, many men, especially those in male-dominated professions, resist seeking professional help and turn to drugs or alcohol instead. Booze or a narcotic may seem to help temporarily, but the problem remains. “You can’t keep doing things the same way and expect different results.”

Seems simple enough, but even those who’ve heard that adage resist change. The truth is, it’s easier to keep drugging or drinking because at least it’s familiar, whereas seeking a thorough assessment from a licensed specialized professional like a psychologist or psychiatrist represents the unknown.

A drug or alcohol problem, job loss, or a wrecked relationship, may still make a person hesitant to seek help because a mental diagnosis and ensuing recovery seems even worse. “Real” men tough out their problems, don’t they? The truth is treatment and recovery involve less work than holding on to a hopeless mindset that somehow “you’re okay.”

At one time, I was convinced that employment, not psychological difficulties, was behind my problems. I had been anxious, depressed and worried for years, but I thought that somehow, someway I was only a job away from happiness. Then, in 2002, 21 years ago, I was so “sick and tired” of being “sick and tired” that I knew I HAD to try something different. What would it hurt to see a professional counselor? Was counseling going to make me feel WORSE?

Finally, at age 43, and after multiple job losses, with the encouragement of my wife I finally sought professional mental assistance. Doing so remains one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made. I only wish I had come to that realization and sought help years earlier than I did.

But the past is the past. Thanks to the help of trained professionals, a supportive wife and friends, and divine intervention from a loving God, I am in a much better mental state than I was twenty years ago. God is in the business of restoring. If mental health assistance worked for me, it can work for you, too.

Celebrating Our BipolarBrave Mental Health & Faith Award for Organization of 2023!

BipolarBrave Awards 2023 Winner of Mental Health and Faith Organization

We are thrilled to announce that Fresh Hope for Mental Health has been awarded the BipolarBrave Mental Health & Faith Award for Organization of 2023! This award is a significant honor and recognizes our organization’s ongoing efforts to support individuals and families affected by mental illness through our faith-based resources, support groups, and various mental health initiatives.

The BipolarBrave awards were founded by Katie Dale, the founder of BipolarBrave blog, who felt the need to honor mental health advocates within the church. By recognizing those who openly and bravely share their stories, experiences, and hope, the BipolarBrave awards aim to promote greater understanding, acceptance, and visibility of mental illness within faith communities.

“Understanding the value of our brothers’ and sisters’ lived experiences should be recognized, not shamed, or swept under the rug,” states Dale. “In creating these awards, I want to recognize those who are bravely coming out to shout it from the rooftops: we are affected, we have hope, and we want others to have that too.”

In this blog post, we want to celebrate and share more about what this award means to us and how it reflects our commitment to providing hope, resources, and support for those affected by a mental health challenge as well as their loved ones.

At Fresh Hope for Mental Health, we believe that it is possible to live a full and rich life in spite of a mental health diagnosis. We are passionate about providing practical, faith-based resources and support that empower individuals and families to find hope, healing, and purpose in the midst of mental health challenges.

Whether through our support groups, webinars, podcasts, or online resources, we strive to create safe and welcoming spaces where people can share their experiences, connect with others, and walk alongside one another on the journey towards mental wellness.

Receiving the BipolarBrave Mental Health & Faith Award for Organization of 2023 is a recognition of our commitment to these goals and mission. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, volunteers, and supporters who have made our programs and initiatives possible.

We are grateful for this opportunity to celebrate and share our work, and we hope that this award will inspire others to join us in promoting greater mental health awareness, empathy, and inclusion within faith communities.

We want to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged us along the way. We are honored to be a part of a larger community of mental health advocates who are passionate about promoting greater understanding, empathy, and support for those affected by mental illness.

As we continue to move forward, we invite you to join us in this important mission. Whether through volunteering, supporting our programs, or simply spreading the word, we can all make a difference in the lives of those impacted by mental illness. Let us continue to hope, heal, and journey together towards greater mental health and wellness.