Among the many questions and feedback emailed to me by many Australian viewers of the social bias TV segment I did that day, this one question by a viewer straight after my segment discussing the modern day roles of men, this one sentence seared into my memory banks. My initial internal reaction of indignation quickly subsided as I recognized the natural apprehension a man would have, warranting the question.
I value that he took the initiative to not only email me his thoughts, but actually ask this important question. He showed his true masculinity with his pin pointed, direct and respectful communication. A logical and rational question vebalized to ensure I was being genuine. Rather than wondering and keeping it to himself, he let me know his thoughts.
Many men are taken through the ringer in today’s day and age. Men are retreating and sometimes for good reason. Incessant criticism or being told they’re not doing things good enough does that to a person. It’s no excuse to stay in retreat mode though, eventually getting back into it and communicating the dissatisfaction of criticism, particularly ongoing criticism.
So my initial indignation at the question he asked me was very quickly replaced with appreciation at his timely reminder that,
“Yes I do actually care about individual men’s health. My motivation is sincerely about helping them find their genuine strengths, masculine and otherwise and LIVE THEM, DAILY. Better yet, making sure they help the key people around respectfully appreciate what they have to offer”
It only starts there though. Since releasing my book in men’s mental health in 2007, I’ve come to appreciate the apprehension and difficulties men face in coming forward when talking about their mental health. I’ve learnt it’s not always primarily because of what a lot of people comment to me “You know what men are like, they never ask for help”. Such an easy throw away line that’s unjustly branded men as their own worst enemy.
What I’ve learnt is that with non-judgemental support, respectful discussion and sound information, their problem solver and action oriented selves kick into action and they proactively help themselves. I want that statistic of men dying by suicide four times more than women to come down in a big way. There’s just no need to reach that point of despair and helplessness.
I’m privileged to be a part of this kind of work and will continue to use my skills as a psychologist, speaker, advocate and educator to the benefit of men’s health and that of their loved ones. I’ve learnt my high school debating skills are coming in handy too! Refer to my male victims of domestic abuse/violence blog for more on this one.
Welcome to the website, let me know if you need other information that’s not up here yet and I’ll look into what I can provide for you.
By the way, my response to the viewer asked that he turn that hope of whether I cared into an actuality. My professional accountability rule of “How do my efforts benefit the client that walks into my office?” always provides a gauge of ensuring my care factor translates to productive outcomes and progress for clients. otherwise I question what I’m doing it for. How about you…do you care….really? If not, why not?