Men’s mental health needs to be a priority

The Center for Access and Student Success (CASS) building.
Credit: Tallahassee Democrat

November marks National Men’s Health Awareness Month, and Florida A&M University is teaming up with Aetna to provide valuable services for students. Men’s health is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of well-being in today’s society.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy for men is approximately five years less than that of women. This stark disparity highlights the urgent need for increased awareness and prioritization of men’s health.

Tonya Eaglin, a licensed therapist with Families First of Florida, emphasizes the importance of breaking down societal stereotypes that often discourage men from seeking help. She also speaks about the effects of societal expectations.

“Men are often conditioned to be stoic and not show vulnerability,” Eaglin said. “This societal expectation can prevent them from acknowledging and addressing their health concerns.”

Recognizing and challenging these stereotypes is a crucial step in fostering an environment where men feel comfortable prioritizing their well-being.

Arianna Davis, a fourth-year chemistry major at FAMU, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing that the stigma around men’s mental health is particularly detrimental.

“There’s this misconception that acknowledging mental health struggles is a sign of weakness, especially for men,” Davis said. “It’s essential to shift this narrative and promote the idea that seeking help is a courageous and intelligent choice.”

The statistics from the CDC further underscore the need for heightened awareness. Men are statistically more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as tobacco and alcohol use, which can contribute to various health issues. Additionally, men are less likely to visit healthcare professionals for regular check-ups, leading to delayed diagnoses of potentially serious conditions.

To address these issues, it is imperative to establish comprehensive men’s health awareness campaigns that not only emphasize the physical aspects but also tackle the stigma surrounding mental health. These campaigns should strive to create an inclusive and supportive environment, encouraging men to prioritize their health without fear of judgment.

Furthermore, integrating men’s health education into school curricula and workplace wellness programs can play a pivotal role in fostering long-term behavioral changes. By promoting healthy lifestyle choices and regular health check-ups, we can empower men to take control of their well-being and break free from societal norms that hinder open discussions about health.

The importance of men’s health and awareness cannot be overstated. It’s time to prioritize proactive measures, de-stigmatize seeking help, and create a culture where men feel supported in their journey towards a healthier and happier life.

FAMU’s counseling center is open from 9a.m. to 5p.m. weekdays and accepts both appointments and walk-ins. BetterMynd, an official FAMU partner, offers 24-hour assistance for after-hours and can be contacted a