Emmet Lyons from CNN recently released an article, "The Covid pandemic is highlighting men's mental health and how they can seek help." It's surprising that so many deem counseling as something only for those "mentally ill," or "with major issues." This is one of the stigmas that unfortunately keep individuals at bay from seeking counseling. Alongside that stigma is the masculine culture that so many have grown up in--the culture that says that men should "be strong" and "never show weakness." It's become a toxic culture that has only damaged men's ability to effectively deal with the stressors that life presents. And the statistics are clear, men are far more unlikely to ask for help than women.
If the pandemic revealed anything that we can take forward in the years ahead, it is just how fragile life is and just how important our health is (physical, emotional and social). It revealed that we should be proactive in dealing with the challenges of life.
Although a cliche and true, it is never too late to learn to confront our struggles. This next generation of men that are being raised have to be told that it is masculine to talk about your problems and learn ways to deal with them. Men should be leaders in teaching/modeling healthy ways to deal with stress. We need to do better. We need to raise our awareness of our insecurities, we need to confront and deal with those deep seeded attachment wounds from childhood and we need to learn healthy ways to cope with our problems. We need to get comfortable with vulnerability because it is within vulnerability where real strength lies because it communicates that we are willing to deal head on with the issues at hand.
Infant Developmental Stage
There has been an increasing amount of diagnosis in mental health circles. While a diagnosis is helpful in allowing therapist's to treat clients and follow a treatment plan using evidence based treatments, it can also be detrimental if therapist's just label a client with a diagnosis with the intent of medicating. The truth is that if you follow the money trail, a diagnosis means more money for insurance companies.
Therapist's have to have high integrity in treating the whole person. Why do you have symptoms of anxiety, depression, etc? There is a context behind the symptoms. Simply treating the symptom will never resolve the deep root issue. While medication for depression can provide some help, it is never the magic pill we all wish it could be in helping resolve our depression.
You don't need anyone to tell you that teenagers are a difficult breed. They are on the precipice of adulthood, while being stuck in a body still trying to figure itself out through puberty. Male teenagers can especially be challenging because they are immersed in a culture where they are being told to always "man up," and "stop crying." As a result, they may deal with problems by either running away through avoidance and distraction (this can be manifested through being glued to their phones, constantly playing video games and exhibiting a lack of emotion) or by showing oppositional behavior. What teenage boys aren't taught in this culture, is how to cope with the daily stressors of life.
I've seen so many adults in their mid 30s and 40s who wished they could have gone back in time to learn how to process and cope with negative experiences and emotions.
The stigma of counseling is starting to change and it's better now than later to invest in counseling for your teenager. It'll save years of problems and equip them with the right tools and awareness that it is best to deal with negative stressors head on, coupled with healthy coping skills.
Whether through social media feeds or news outlets, it’s so easy to be inundated with news that can trigger personal trauma. You may not be aware of it in the moment when you’re scrolling through your phone or catching a short reel of the top news around the world, but your body is keeping score. It’s been shown that if trauma isn’t worked through within the first 90 days, that it can metabolize within your body and ‘be stuck.’ Over time, symptoms can arise that may have its roots in unresolved trauma. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t seek medical help to address the physical symptoms, but that is to say that it is important to work through unresolved traumas. I’ve worked with many who are well into adulthood who have learned to deal with traumas by “sucking it up.” They learn to cope through forms of distraction and avoidance and as a result, never wind up dealing with their trauma. You've heard the analogy before--if you don't address a small cut, it may fester into something that's worse. Don't allow time to continue to pass with your unresolved trauma. It'll be the best investment you can make--there isn't a promise that it won't be easy, but it'll certainly be worth it.
Guidelines for Sex Education with Children.
The General Principle: Honesty is the best policy! Don’t tell children something you don’t believe and practice yourself. Remember, children don’t just follow what you say, but how you behave. Model healthy intimacy.