By Micheal Brewer, MS, LCMFT, LCAC

Last Sunday, we celebrated Father’s Day. As I reflect and reminisce, I am reminded of all the great fatherly advice I received over the years, which still sticks with me today.  

But there is one piece of advice that I struggle to recall, probably due to its rarity or the lack thereof.  “What do you do with all these feelings, emotions, and uncertainties in life?”

Men’s mental health is extremely important, yet it is one topic of discussion that is overlooked or avoided. One in five adults experience mental health problems in a given year. According to Mental Health America, depression, anxiety, bipolar, psychosis/schizophrenia, and eating disorders are the top five mental health problems affecting men today.  

Let’s not forget that men have the highest suicide rate and repeated struggles with substance abuse and dependency. On top of that, men are less likely than women to seek help due to social norms, reluctance to talk, downplaying symptoms, and overall embarrassment.

Despite all the efforts to end mental health stigma through media campaigns, countless articles, and professional athlete endorsements there is still room for improvement.  What if these efforts started with a simple conversation in the garage, on the couch, or from across the table.

I recall countless conversations and advice about car maintenance: “Don’t run out of gas, keep those windows clean, don’t forget to check the oil, turn down the radio so you can hear the car. If you don’t know what is wrong, find someone who does, and if you take care of your car, it will take care of you.”  

Men’s mental health is not as simple as basic car maintenance, but it is a start. Here is our unique checklist to tune up your mental health:

  • Don’t run out of gas – Fuel your body with what it needs: sleep, diet, and exercise.
  • Keep those windows clean – Eliminate distractions that can blur or obscure your goals.
  • Turn down the radio – Just sit still and listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
  • Don’t forget to check the oil – Every now and then, you need to pop the hood and take a closer look on the inside. Keep annual checkups with your primary care doc and other checkups to keep tabs on the ebbs and flows of your health. 
  • If you don’t know what is wrong, find someone who does It is tough, but asking for help can be life-changing.
  • If you take care of your car, it will take care of you – Time and attention to the little things will go a long way. Take a 10-minute walk every day. Brush your teeth. Drink plenty of water. Eat fruits and veggies. 

In observance of Father’s Day and Men’s Health Month, take a minute to ask yourself if you or a man in your life needs a mental health tuneup. 

Need help now?

Dark haired Asian man looking at camera and smiling