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Men’s Mental Health: Help is Available For Everyone

Photo by Cooper Huau

“In 2020, men died by suicide 3.88 times more than women,” according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Junior accounting major, Cale Goss said, “Men’s mental health is typically viewed as not as important.” The CDC reports almost 80% of suicides are committed by men.

Dr. Simon Cordery, a licensed psychologist at the University of North Georgia, said, “With males, there are acceptable emotions and unacceptable emotions. For males, crying is not generally acceptable. We learn to shove a bunch of different emotions that aren’t anger into a layer, like having your feelings hurt, being sad or being afraid. We put all that into anger.”

Cordery said, “I think that there is a lot of social pressure on men not to come to therapy. Mental health in general is predominantly a female-dominated industry.”

At UNG, Cordery said, that of the six counseling staff members in Dahlonega, he is the only man, and only two of the five counselors in Gainesville are male.

“We definitely see more females than males in counseling. But for most people, the traditional role is that there’s something wrong with you if you go to therapy. In actuality, it’s a sign of strength, knowing that I need help is being self-aware. Being self-aware is such a huge sign of strength that I think gets overlooked in our society. It’s a brave act, to come to therapy, rather than a brave act to go it alone to bottle up your feelings,” said Cordery.

The Google screenshot examples of the much-celebrated international women’s day versus international men’s day. On social media and many internet platforms, there is an incredible imbalance between acknowledgment and positive reinforcement of men and women.

Cordery said, “We’ve got to change our society so that men don’t need help. I think people like that in, you know, positions of influence me to start verbalizing more.”

He also says social media plays a role in men’s mental health. Cordery said, “The more time you spend on social media, the less satisfied you are with your own life. I look at my friends, and their life looks like a party. Everybody’s having a great time. Everything’s perfect. For [the younger] generation that has been digital natives since birth, it is your reality because you’re so connected 24/7. That makes it really hard for you to look at that and go, that’s not really me. Or that’s not really Susie. I think social media is causing problems. We have people email us and say, I can’t make a phone call, can I make an appointment over the phone? And it’s not that they can’t – they have a phone. There’s nothing wrong with it. They just feel so uncomfortable. They don’t have those skills. I still feel that way sometimes. I’ve noticed myself doing that, ‘oh, I don’t want to call the pizza place, just order on the app.’ I’m even slipping into that. I think that we’re losing some social skills from social media.”

One potential solution Cordery recommended is disconnecting from the phone. “I get such a negative response to that like people are, they look at me, like I’m asking them to disconnect from oxygen or life support,” said Cordery.

Additionally, he says we should expand our definition of health. “If we can find ways to start seeing mental health as health, I think that will also help,” said Cordery.

Photo by Cooper Huau

The counseling office locations for all campuses can be found here. Students at UNG can book a counseling session at no extra cost for any range of reasons.

“We are trying to launch skill workshops that are [going to] be listed for next semester on our webpage. They may not be there yet, but they will be in the next week or two about how to problem solve, how to have conflict resolution, how to stand up for yourself, how to communicate effectively,” said Cordery.

Campus Help Number Ext.
Blue Ridge 706-867-4402 1
Cumming 706-867-4402 4
Dahlonega 706-867-4402 1
Gainesville 706-867-4402 2
Oconee 706-867-4402 3
Suicide Hotline: 988

There is also a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) with crisis counselors available. NAMI can be reached by texting ‘NAMI’ to 741741.

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    Carol ColwellDec 8, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    Awareness is a first step. Bringing it out into the open; beginning the conversation. What a relief it can be to know you’re not they only one.

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Men’s Mental Health: Help is Available For Everyone