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Men & Mental Illness: Suffering In Silence

(extended article below / click on the image)

MEN MATTER! ALL MEN MATTER! You can be any color of skin, you can be young or old, fat or skinny, rich or poor, tall or short. It doesn't matter what your culture is or which religion you affiliate with. YOU MATTER!

This is not a message men hear today. In business, corporations recognize us when we screw up. At home, your life partner may not be great at validation. With our friends, many times the sarcastic "cut-down" is cooler than an encouraging word. In churches, shame-based religion doesn't feel uplifting, and within the political realm, we are so divisive you are either with us or you are the enemy.

In the book "The Butterfly Effect" it explains a butterfly flapping it's wings in Australia can make an impact in America. Everything you do, and everything you do not matters. You matter because you are here. You live! You breath! You are a man!

Currently in America, divorced men suffer suicide rates 2-3 times higher than married men ( In addition, suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death in boys/men ages 10-35. In starting BeMen, our Founder is a walking/talking statistic. He went through divorce at the age of 34 which placed him within both categories. BeMen shares these numbers to build awareness in supporting men, but statistics can feel a bit clinical. They lack heart and the human experience!

During the holiday season, it became much more personal for our Founder (Zach). On Sunday January 6th, he attended his 2nd cousin's funeral. While most celebrated New Year's, and Zach celebrated his 48th birthday; his 2nd cousin decided life was no longer worth the pain and exited this world. He leaves behind a wife and two young daughters. Zach felt a little blue for New Year's as his sons were out with friends and he was home alone. Any discomfort he felt paled in comparison to the pain his cousin must have felt when he decided the only way out was to take his life.

For every man in America or abroad, know that emotions are healthy and normal. Do not repress them; work through them. When Zach heard the news, he texted BeMen's Advisory Council for support. He had a beer with one of them Friday afternoon. He surrounded himself with family the day of the memorial service, took his son's to lunch afterwards, and then hit the gym. Why? During those 3-5 days, Zach felt sadness, guilt, anger, righteous rage, and raw determination to work on BeMen for the rest of his life. Rather than hiding or isolating, he reached out to others. He told people what was going on. When they asked "How are you?" or "How is your day?" he didn't say "fine". He told the truth about the loss of his 2nd cousin. Seeking support is not a sign of weakness but one of strength and wisdom!

Check out this article on men and mental illness with valuable resources to support you when the challenging times come.

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