Real Men Have Feelings

Society has long-favored the idea of a man who is stoic, brave and doesn’t get too emotional. Just think of pop culture figures like Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson, who perfectly exemplifies this “rugged individualism.” The problem is that this ideal also promotes the belief that real men don’t talk about their emotions. Add in how unlikely men are to go to the doctor when something is wrong—whether it’s physical or mental—and you can see how hard it is to be a guy struggling with depression. It’s as if seeking help is a sign of weakness.

However, the long history of stereotypes have presented men as emotionless or weaker, when the expression of emotion can help alleviate the number of consequences. On average, more than 3 million men struggle with anxiety on a daily basis. One of the most important things for men to recognize is that we are not all alone in our emotions. 9 percent of men experience depression daily – which is over 6 million men.

Sadly, this silent suffering can have tragic results. According to a report from Men’s Health, suicide is the seventh leading cause of death for men and the second most common cause of death for men between the ages of 10 and 39. However, this silent killer is not as publicly depressed as it should be.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have a friend or family member who you suspect is dealing with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, take the first step and talk to them about it. You can always start the conversation with a confession of your own—maybe talk about something you are trying to work through—and see if that makes him more comfortable opening up in return. Remind him that it takes courage to admit something is wrong and that therapy and medication can be a huge help, but only if those treatments are sought out.

For more advice and a place to ask for help from a professional, check out:, and

Photo credit: Sander van der Wel

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