#YouGoodMan

Mental health has been a particularly uncomfortable conversation in black communities for a long time. Recently the #YouGoodMan hashtag has circulated the Internet after Kid Cudi revealed his struggles with anxiety depression and suicidal thoughts. Now, I know that Kid Cudi is not the only one suffering from mental health issues but with his publicizing his diagnosis and struggles he helped to bring about the conversation that is all too often ignored and dismissed in the black community. Even though people of all races experience stigmas surrounding mental health black men especially have it rough when it comes to the stigmas mental health faces.The hashtag #YouGoodMan aims to steer the narrative away from the stigmatized views of mental health for men.

Its been difficult for me to find the words to what Im about to share with you because I feel ashamed. Ashamed to be a…

Posted by Kid Cudi on Tuesday, October 4, 2016

All too often when someone opens up about their mental health conditions there are too many who try to put a hush on the conversation. Some of the stigma placed on men stems from their upbringing. Hearing things “like boys don’t cry’ “be a man”  “suck it up” “don’t be a bitch” etc. These are the types of terminologies that are embedded into the minds of young boys that grow up as men who face difficulties expressing themselves through emotions. This type of language propagates that men and boys are should not emote  while on the flipside women can and are in fact encouraged too.

What that does is create a society of more men who are trapped in a boyish mindset because they were seldom allowed to express their frustrations in a healthy manner. It seems the only emotional form men are allowed to have are those related to aggression. So some end up committing violent acts of crime, have more violent outbursts when angry, some become abusers while others internalize and self harm in other ways.

The problem with telling boys that they’re not allowed to cry (and still be a man) is that it’s a pure lie. I personally think that it’s absolutely unfair to stifle feelings and emotional expression in one gender. A part of the development process is to be able to control and fine tune emotions. Preschool to school aged kids develop and learn alternative strategies for dealing with frustration and expressing emotions. All while developing self esteem and increasing sense of self, and then there’s puberty and that is a whole other stage of emotional development. Boys are being told not to cry as young as three, imagine the impact of that.

 Another emotion is happiness, I couldn’t tell you how many guys I have encountered who won’t take a picture with a smile, what’s that about?! Smile, show us your teeth, after all smiling has many benefits (even faked ones) including but not limited to, improving mood, reducing stress, making you more attractive and approachable. The “gotta be hard” mentality has to go.

 

Certain emotional responses should not be confined to belonging to one specific gender.  As women I feel we have a moral obligation to confront these issues and not perpetuate them.

So I beg the question, what would happen if we were to raise boys in emotionally stable conditions? A man that is better able to confront his emotions may become a better father, husband, citizen, friend and overall better asset in our communities.

One of the things that I hear often from young women is that they feel like their men are childish, that they’re not able to understand or connect emotionally to them. When it comes to our roles in these guys lives we can be pretty sure that they have been raised with that old-school mindset that boys don’t cry. We may have a chance to play a part in healing those generational scars. So instead of expecting an equal level of emotional contribution, we understand that a deficit may exist and if more men had the freedom to be emotionally attuned in a healthier way we could make better connections. The saying goes “You can’t raise a man” but one of the things that we can do is open up conversations about seeking help and making it OK to do so just as it is for women.  

 

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