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Men’s Mental Health Support: Advice from the Pros

Two Array clinicians offer their personalized advice for supporting men's mental health and wellness.

Some men might think they need to tough it out when it comes to their mental wellbeing. But mental health issues can affect anyone, at any point in their lives – even mental health professionals.

Men face stressors like:

  • Cultural influence to show strength and self-reliance
  • Pressure to act as financial providers
  • Issues of identity and sexuality
  • The need to keep up with the fast pace of work and family life

As a proactive approach, it may be beneficial to consider your stress levels and address shifts in mood before they interfere too much with relationships and daily functioning. Compared to women, stats show men are less likely to seek support for mental health. In 2021, just 40% of men with a reported mental illness sought help compared with 52% of women.

Two seasoned professionals specialized at treating concerns among teens and men shared their insights on self-care for men’s mental health – and how to seek help.

Question: What’s something that you share with clients and apply to your own life?

Leroy Arenivar, MD, Psychiatrist and Senior Medical Director with Array: A lot of the elements from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) are very helpful to my own life because they are so practical. An example is being able to observe my own reactions to different stressors, identifying emotions that may be tied to that stressor, and then thinking through actions I could take for coping – such as deep breathing or listening to my favorite music.

Andrew Delgado, LCSW, Therapist with Array: Accepting that unexpected things will happen in life. It requires effort and making long-term goals to help maintain a path towards somewhere that feels right. I find it important to become aware of my own perpetual issues and to be aware of my intentions, and whether to change or accept them.

Q: What does your self-care look like?

Arenivar: For me, a lot about self-care revolves around routine so that I can anticipate certain things. At the same time, there has to be some allowance for spontaneity and time for mindfulness or to relax from the intensity of the workday. For example, taking a 5-minute walk. I’m able be more productive and efficient with my time whenever I allow these breaks.

Q: Are there any non-negotiables in your own approach to mental health?

Arenivar: Sunlight. Healthy snacks throughout the day (apples, trail mix, cucumbers). Upbeat music (pop, country, Broadway). Physical activity. Limiting my time on social media and monitoring how I consume news. Spending fun time with my husband and dogs.

Delgado: My health, time with my family, not over-extending myself.

Q: What do you do if you're having a really difficult day/week/month?

Arenivar: I do an analysis of the things that are contributing to feeling overwhelmed. I then prioritize what I need to focus on and decide what can wait. I will also talk to somebody who might be in the same situation; we can support and cheerlead for each other.

Q: What advice can you give to men who may feel ashamed or afraid to reach out for mental health support? What tactics can they use to seek the help they need?

Delgado: The weight we carry as men can be overwhelming. We often inhibit our feelings, hide vulnerabilities, and fall into patterns of over or under doing it.

One of the best things we can do is to acknowledge where we feel vulnerable, acknowledge our unwanted feelings, and share them with people who love us or want to help. Letting in support, letting in the kindness, wisdom, and acceptance from others is a wonderful form of self-preservation.

One tactic I would consider is just creating a list of options for seeking help and outlining a couple of tasks you can do get started on seeking help.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need urgent help, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
 Ready to get started on healing your mental health? Book an appointment today.

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If you are in crisis, call 988 to talk with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, text HOME to 741741 to connect to a free crisis counselor, or go to your nearest emergency room.