Where is the Light on Men’s Mental Health?

“Be a man.”
“Men don’t cry.”
“Men are strong.”
“A man does what he must- in spite of personal consequences.”

Why do we tell men that feelings are these awful things and that crying is bad? Why do we teach young boys to shut their feelings out and ignore them in the spirit of “being a man”? We live in a world that values braun and bravery over sensitivity and emotional intelligence and it is an extremely harmful way of thinking.

The world has made great strides with regards to the conversations surrounding mental health, but I believe that there is still a long way to go, especially when it comes to men’s mental health. We have come a long way in terms of our thinking surrounding mental health, it is not always looked at as a weakness or something made up. But there are still some really negative thoughts and voices out there in the world.

Something I have noticed is the drastic differences in the ways women’s and men’s mental health are looked at. Women are typically seen as fragile, or delicate (I don’t agree with this but that’s for another time and place), and it’s almost like these stereotypes make it easier for people to hear about women living with mental illnesses.  Men are typically seen as strong, brave, and without emotions. They grow up being told to “be a man” and that “men don’t cry.” What kind of people does this breed? This teaches young men that their feelings and emotions are things to push away and that they are bad. This teaches young men that they have nowhere to go to ask for help if they need it because they will be seen as weak, or scared. It’s stereotypes like these that seem to make it difficult for people to understand that men can and do struggle with mental illnesses.

Why do we send children into the world thinking that they will be looked down upon or seen as less than for reaching out for help? Why do we do this and then wonder why they encounter problems?

This is something that I struggle to grasp. Mental illness does not discriminate when it comes to the people it affects, men and women can and do both suffer from all mental illnesses- and we know this. We have been shown the statistics, and we have heard people speak out. So why do we continue to perpetuate stereotypes that encourage men to hide their problems in secret?

In recent years, there has been an onslaught of women of notoriety coming forward with their stories of living with mental illness. While there have been a few men of similar statuses to share their own stories, there seems to be a far smaller amount. Where is the voice for men’s mental health? Where is the voice telling men that feelings are okay and that it’s okay to cry or ask for help? Where is the voice telling them that those stereotypes, and those moulds they were told to fit into are wrong? Where is the voice telling them that their feelings are valid and that they are just as worthy of support as anyone else and that if they reach out for support it doesn’t make them less of a man?

I don’t know where the voice is that can give us an updated definition of a man, but for the world’s sake, I hope we find it soon.


When is the time for one
grand act of rebellion?
Who is the greatest 
tyrant of all?

It is time to put 
feet down, to
stand when told to sit, to
bang fists on tables, to
scream when silenced.

It is time to fight 
back and stay 
strong in the 
face of control. 

No longer will I
starve my body to
fit “its” desires,
no longer will I
cry in the confines 
of solitude,
no longer will I
shiver in fear of
the unknown.

Now is time for one
grand act of rebellion
against the greatest 
tyrant of all;


The notion that you 
must be “good enough”
for someone else
will lead you down dark paths. 

It will lead you to
men who will hurt,
use and undermine you. 

It will lead you to
meals unfinished and
a weight that is never low enough

It will lead you to
jobs that do not
value or fulfill you. 

It will lead you to
nights alone with
nothing but wine and tears.

It will lead you to
fresh wounds at the surface
and wounds never tended to at the core.

It will lead you to 
being fearful of
living a full life. 

It will lead you to
reflections of yourself
that you do not like or recognize. 

You are uniquely you
and so full of potential;
once you realize you are “good enough”
for you, 
the rest of your world will follow.

If Only Someone Had Told Me

Darling, I know you
think that toilet bowl
holds the answers
to your pain – 
that giving up your dinner
will accomplish your goal of
feeling worthwhile;
the same way that the
razor blades
seemed to hold 
the hope and fulfillment 
that you so badly craved.

But the toilet bowl
and the razor blades
are nothing more
than vessels for
your demons to
further infiltrate
your spirit
and they won’t 
solve a damn thing.

The Fear

I am scared
of blood,
but I drew
my own
and craved it.

I am scared
of snakes,
but I let 
them into my
life willingly. 

I am scared
of feeling out of control,
but I watched
as my entire life
fell apart. 

I am scared
of loss,
but I isolate
myself and push
people away. 

I am scared 
of uncertainty,
but I am uncomfortable
asking too
many questions. 

I am scared
of pain,
but I allow myself
and others
to hurt me. 

I am scared
of being happy,
because if is 
so often followed
by sadness. 

I am scared 
of being sad,
because it
always seems 
so endless. 

I am scared
of feeling empty,
yet I deprived
my body of
all that it needed.

I am scared 
of myself,
because no one
has ever wounded me
the way that I have. 

May 12th

I knew the call
was coming. 
But I did not 
know how they knew. 
We ate dinner
in near silence.
Then sister and I 
went to play GameCube. 
The phone rang
and my body went numb. 
Parents came downstairs
and we all hugged.
I had never seen 
dad cry before. 
But for some reason
I could not cry at all.
They told us you
wouldn’t hurt anymore. 
As if that would
provide us with comfort.
Even though you are
free now
there is almost nothing
 I would not give
to have been able to say goodbye.

The Chameleon

The chameleon spoke to me
in words of silver and gold.

He wrapped me up in
everything he said.

Without warning and without cause
his words turned to daggers
but I was still tied up
and there was no way out.

The colours of his words
could change in an instant;
they went from the silver and gold that I knew
to fiery red and the blackest black.

There was no conceivable reason
and to this day
the thought still
makes me shudder.

People think they
know better;
that it will never happen to them.

I thought the very same things
until it happened to me.

They told me that
sticks and stones will break bones
but words will never hurt.

But there were times
that the words cut deeper
than any stick or stone could have.

There ere times
when the fiery, red words
pelted me with the strength of a thousand stones.

And the cold, harsh
black words
made me forget everything I believed to be true.

It was then
when the chameleon spoke to me
in red and black,

That I learned the true
power of words.

Bruises fade and
scars become less visible.

But after six years
I can still hear those words
and feel that hurt as strongly
as I did at sixteen.

I knew better.
It will never happen to me.
He says he loves me.
He does not hurt me on purpose.

I was so very naive
and wrong
about all of it.

And today,
six years later,
I cannot fathom
how I let myself get tangled
in a web of hurtful, colourful and untrue