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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – How Do We Approach Conversations Around #MentalHealth With #Boys?

PORTLAND, Ore. – The stigma around #mentalhealth exists for everyone, however, it seems to be worse for boys.

#TheCentersforDiseaseControl report that while girls attempted #suicide almost three times as often as boys,

boys are four times more likely to go through with an attempt.

We’ve all heard the phrases through the years – boys don’t cry, man up, rub some dirt on it – you’ll be fine.

So how do we raise boys to feel comfortable expressing their emotions and to be compassionate? KATU’s Debora Knapp recently talked with two authors who say it’s an important process.

“The boy code which is all those things that are unhealthy, be strong, don’t cry you, don’t have feelings, et cetera,” said Dr. Peter Mortola, a professor at Lewis and Clark University.

It’s the wrong attitude aimed at young kids, especially for boys. He says it creates a precedent for them when they grow up.

 

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 #JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

 

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“We know that #men are not accessing #mentalhealth in the way females are,” Dr. Mortola said.

He’s created a book called The Bear Inside to address emotional development, particularly with #boys.

“We all have a bear inside. Sometimes the bear will act out in ways that hurt others – biting someone in preschool, hitting our sibling, or using vicious words to attack someone on #socialmedia.”

He says the book guides kids to know how to use the inner bear to help them and validate their feelings. One of the challenges, Dr. Mortola says, is to get some boys to open up and talk.

“Boys will not necessarily welcome you with open arms all the time and say ‘mom, how glad I am’ that you are coming here to be with me, or that you’re waking me up this morning, or that you’re driving me to school,”

He says that doesn’t mean they aren’t able to open up.

“In fact, it’s the opposite that’s true, I think. Not only is that boy reachable by someone – that’s what our research shows – but he’s actually in great need of being reached,” said Dr. Mortola.

photograph of happy children

Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com

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