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I’m a boy and life with mental health struggles feels so much harder ... everyone just tells me “to man up” - what can I do?

Reuben Alexander · 03 Mar, 2021

Hi- I’m Kairo 🚀, I’m a boy and life with mental health struggles feel so much harder for me :( it’s like my struggles aren’t valid and everyone just tells me “to man up” what can I do?

Kairo, 17

Hi Kairo!

You have asked a really important question! Dealing with mental health struggles as a man can feel really difficult and we often feel like we need to suppress our struggles and emotions because that is the “manly” thing to do - but this is false! Manliness doesn’t mean ignoring how you feel and never showing any emotions, manliness means being confident in yourself and vulnerable with your struggles; it takes real strength to admit when we are struggling!

The stigma around men and mental health is very real and isn’t going away overnight, so I would encourage you to find some people that you trust like a school counselor or youth worker that can help you process what you are going through.

What I find really helpful is listening to podcasts about mental health, l like the CXMH podcast, but if you search for “mental health for men” on any podcast app you will definitely find some good ones! There are also some great resources around specifically aimed at guys - check out CVM as a good place to start, or guys like Joel Harris from Kintsugi Youth.

And of course - don't forget to check out the videos here on Headstrong - you'll find loads of stories and info from guys of all ages too - because normal life involves challenges whoever you are. I hope that helps you to know that your struggles are valid whatever your gender!


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