Mental wellbeing for young people

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Guys- This one's for YOU! It's Okay not to be OKAY

Gavin McKenna photo Gavin McKenna · 14 Jun, 2021

You know, it’s alright NOT TO HAVE IT TOGETHER ALL THE TIME!!!!

Truth is, it really is OKAY not to be OKAY.

But what then?

How do we open up and show vulnerability about what’s going on and the things we’re struggling with?? Here’s some great honest thoughts from Gav about some of the struggles he’s faced and what’s helped 🙌

Reach Every Generation, I'm at the base right now: so, this is my new centre for young people. And then obviously this week is Men's Mental Health and, so, I just wanted to do a quick video for you guys. Just a little, little video, just to kind of shed some light on, I guess the matter that still comes across as taboo. You know, that men can have mental health issues.

And I'm a man that has lived with issues myself living with post-traumatic stress and a variety of things that come with that. And I feel like even saying that you know, as a man it's okay to say about post-traumatic stress 'cause it sounds quite 'tough' but actually feeling emotionally weak at times or feeling mentally tired, like 'I can't cope with this anymore, I'm getting overwhelmed right now'.

And I think for me as someone that runs a business or has set up a company or organisation that works with young people, having staff and a team to manage and the expectations that come with that, plus family life: I think it's easy to just, kind of, put things down to pressure but actually I know that I have to be aware of my own mental health. I have to be aware of 'What am I watching?'.

And we throw the word trigger around a lot but for someone that lives with trauma, triggering is a real physiological, psychological, emotional response to something that you've seen that's distressing.

And I think for me it's key that we talk about it. We talk about the fact that men can be triggered, real triggered and that men can have an emotional reaction to things and that it's okay: it's not weak to be nice, it's not weak to ask for help.

And I learned with this, the one thing that really stuck for me: I did therapy as many would know, and my therapist did a great job of highlighting how men deal with fear in general. She said to me that one of my biggest things at that time was that fear was like the big iceberg that lied within my chest, but then what I did as to over-masculinize myself and to not look weak was cover it up with anger. And, so, what happened is if someone triggered me or if I felt sad or rejected or I felt devalued in any way, or, like, not being heard, (all these things that I do feel as a human, as a man), she said, if I feel any of those things anger's sitting right on top of fear: fear comes up, I'm fearful of being rejected but it's coming out as anger. So, then people say, "Gavin's an angry man." No, I was fearful my whole life. I still get fearful now.

And, so, I just want to say to you guys that it's okay to not be okay. And it's okay to talk about that. And, so, take courage.

Listen, I'm not by no means trying to say that I'm special or that I'm someone to look up to, but what I'm saying is I'm doing okay but, actually, there's days when I'm not. And it's okay to talk about that.

So, be encouraged this week. It's Men's Mental Health Week and shout out to anyone that's struggling and dealing with that and respect to anyone that's opening up and talking about it.

Be available, be kind and let's be there for each other guys. Take care.


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