Check in with the men in your life about how they’re really doing.
Johnson County Mental Health
June marks Men’s Health Month, a national observance to raise awareness about healthcare for men and boys with a focus on encouraging healthy living decisions. Men are less likely to seek help for mental health concerns like depression, substance use and stressful life events due to gender stereotypes, social norms and stigma. These factors can make it harder for men and their healthcare providers to recognize when they might need mental health support. Men who don’t—or feel that they can’t—speak openly about their feelings might have a more challenging time recognizing the symptoms of mental health conditions in themselves.
During Men’s Health Month, we encourage you to check in with the men in your life about how they’re really doing. You can use this tool we call ALEC to help the men start a conversation:
A: ASK. Start by asking how they’re feeling. You could prompt the conversation by saying, “You haven’t seemed like yourself lately — are you feeling OK?” or “I’ve noticed you haven’t been replying to the group chat lately, which is unlike you.” It’s okay to ask about recent changes in behavior and/or mood.
L: LISTEN WITHOUTJUDGMENTWHILEVALIDATING THEIR EMOTIONS. Practice active listening and give them your full attention. Ask probing questions like, “How long have you felt this way?”
E: ENCOURAGE ACTION. You could, for example, encourage them to take a mental health screening and share their results with a loved one, mental health provider or primary care provider.
C: CHECK-IN. Find a time to check in, whether that be via text, call or an in-person get-together. You could send a message like, “I just want you to know I’m here for you whenever you feel up to talking.”
Movember, a leading charity, has created a helpful tool called “Movember Conversations” to help you have conversations with the men in your life who might be struggling. You can’t fix someone’s problems, but you can be there for them — by starting the conversation.
If you need mental health support or resources for yourself or a loved one, call Johnson County Mental Health Center 24/7 at 913-268-0156 or text 741-741.