According to the CDC, mental illness is among the most common health conditions in the United States, and it impacts women and men.

The CDC data shows that males make up 50% of the U.S. population, but 80% of suicides.

Mike Evers, licensed mental health counselor, says, “I want to give men the freedom to be themselves and to see the joy and the confidence that can come from that.”

Evers says he’s noticed some men are apprehensive to seek out a mental health professional when they need it.

Evers says, “A lot of men feel like they just kind of need to solve the issues alone, figure it out themselves.”

Evers says social stigmas relating to masculinity contribute to men’s hesitancy.

Evers says, “This vulnerability is kind of viewed as not masculine, not being a man. And to have deep emotions seems to not coincide in our societal views.”

He believes these stigmas can be traced back to messages taught to boys in their early childhood years. 

Evers says, “Those messages as we can give, oh, you’re too sensitive or don’t be a baby or stop crying or get over it. If any guy played sports, you may have heard, just push through it. No pain, no gain. But then when we apply messages like that in other areas of life where they don’t work, then we have that stigma of I need to push through it. I need to solve this by myself.”

Instead, Evers suggests messages of emotional reassurance be taught to boys when they are young.

Evers says, “I think one of the best things that we can do for little boys is to normalize what they’re feeling for them to hear, I get scared too. I sometimes feel hurt when i don’t get invited to parties. And to open that conversation.”

This way, boys can build positive mental health practices to use as they get older.

Evers says, “To see vulnerability as a strength, as something that require courage and bravery and not as a sign of weakness.”