The Marshall counseling center has been a driving force of focus on mental health over the years. As a pandemic disrupted students’ lives, the counseling center was required to adapt and respond to the new challenges people began to face. Part of this response has been an initiative focusing on men’s mental health.
“Men tend to underutilize mental health services and resources, while women utilize them the most,” said Candace Layne, director of the counseling center.
Men’s mental health week was the brainchild of Layne, who received a grant in order to help fund the events. The events included more traditional activities like a lecture and included an event taking place at a barbershop where men could have a space to talk while getting haircuts. These types of events intentionally give men a space where they feel safe and comfortable.
Layne talked about the stigma many men face when dealing with mental health issues. There will always be an inclination to just “man up” and not talk about issues they may be experiencing.
“Boys are taught sometimes that boys need to be tough. I think we can teach boys to still be tough, but emotions are okay. We need to begin to open up those conversations within our homes — it starts in the home, it starts young,” Layne said.
Men’s mental health has long been regarded as something most men have not taken seriously enough over the years. This has led to men leading the rates of suicide in the United States.
Programs like these will continue to shed light on communities who may be most underserved by traditional counseling and therapy in an effort to change the current culture surrounding men’s mental health.
Tyler Spence can be contacted at [email protected]