At A New Day Family Counseling, we understand the challenges men face today to improve their mental health.
Men typically engage in fewer health-promoting behaviors, have fewer social supports, possess less effective behavioral responses to stress, and use fewer health care services than women. Men are 4 times more likely than females to die from suicide attempts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). Men with depression are more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs. Men are also more likely to allow anger to be expressed freely without acknowledging other’s feelings and are not likely to ask for help in managing anger. Finally, young men engage in more risky behaviors and are increasingly likely to engage in those behaviors over time (Mahalik et al., 2013).
Untreated mental health problems tend to get worse over time and can lead to serious consequences including addiction, incarceration, destroyed relationships and damage to physical health. Fortunately, with the right treatment most mental health problems are resolved within a relatively short period of time and result in an increased ability to cope with future challenges, improve relationships and improve contentment in life.
Beginning the therapy process is a sign of strength and takes courage.
As E.E. Cummings penned, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” In recent years, I have had the experience of seeing many more men access mental health services. My heart is touched by these men, who recognize their need for help and allow themselves to take a risk to open up emotionally and be vulnerable in ways that they may never have been before. These men have accessed services for a variety of reasons including divorce or a separation, relationship problems, illness or injury, or for help with addiction, anger, trauma or anxiety and depression. Additionally, fathers have sought help with understanding their children’s needs as they develop or to adapt to the challenging task of parenting. I have also had the experience of seeing young men challenge traditional gender roles and try out new behaviors that would have been shamed or made fun of many years ago. As a result, old gender roles thankfully are changing. The new world demands equality between the sexes in the workplace, in relationships and in child rearing. I believe that these changes are helping men become more satisfied with their relationships and themselves.
A New Day Family Counseling Plainfield, IL believes in healing not only individuals but attends to the healing of the whole family. After all, our family relationships are the most important human connection we will have and have the power to hurt or heal us. We take a collaborative, family-centered approach and use brief, solution-focused and evidence-based treatment methods. Our therapists listen deeply, empathically and non-judgmentally and seek to understand your feelings and beliefs to help create a new and empowering story about who you are. We will teach you how to identify old, limiting beliefs that interfere with your relationships, your sense of purpose, and inner peace. We will work on healing that unhealthy relationship with yourself so that you may embrace a new one that is whole, genuine, and resilient. And, we will work on restoring your family relationships with authentic, safe and healing communication, teaching the art of compromise, and restore bonding and attachment that has been challenged by difficult times, loss, trauma, emotional injuries, addiction and mental health issues.
We offer individual counseling for adults, teens and children, family counseling, couple/marital counseling. We also offer Telehealth services. We treat anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, chronic anger, personality disorders, women’s issues, trauma, grief and loss or coping with stress or inevitable changes in life that challenge us in so many ways. We will assist your family with blending, parenting, step-parenting, and coping with and addressing behavioral and emotional issues and disorders including ADHD, autism, developmental disorders, and mood disorders. We provide help to couples and families suffering from relationship problems, intimacy issues, divorce, physical and mental illness, loss, or trauma.
We provide counseling services to Plainfield, Romeoville, Shorewood, Joliet, Oswego, Naperville, Yorkville, Bolingbrook, and Aurora and the surrounding areas in Will County, IL. Gwen Ginski, MEd, LCSW
While I have been fortunate to observe these exciting changes in men, it is still true that many men hold on to old, rigid and restrictive stereotypes. These stereotypes have a negative impact on men’s mental and physical health and can be very destructive in family relationships. Men often believe that they must handle problems by themselves and fear that they may seem weak or that others will find out that they are struggling. Boys often socialized from a very early age by their parents, peers, and teachers to “toughen up” and not cry. These norms are further shaped and reinforced by the work force, where emotions are not recognized or denied and men are expected to fulfill a variety of roles that may endanger their emotional well-being.
Some men become so enthralled in the pursuit of a “masculinity ideal” that requires that they have to continuously prove their power, strength and vitality.
These men continually practice norms in the pursuit of wealth, dominance, success, power, status and superiority. On the other end of this spectrum are the men who do not have the access to resources to prove this so-called masculinity and turn to anti-social behaviors in pursuit of this same ideal. This can lead to “Toxic Masculinity” which results in macho behavior, promiscuity, workaholism, authoritarianism and even violence. Toxic Masculinity ultimately results in a loss of internal strength, confidence and stability and leads to interpersonal and emotional problems, and even legal problems.
Men sometimes believe that the best way to handle emotions is to avoid them or bottle them up.
If a man experiences a crisis, which undoubtedly happen in life, whether it be a loss, a divorce, or another difficulty in life, he may not have the ability to process through the intense emotions that go along with these life experiences. As a man, you deserve to be happy and have satisfying healthy relationships. Seeking help for yourself is a sign of great strength. It is much easier to deny and avoid facing problems than it is to take an active step towards improving yourself and your mental health. Reach out and find a therapist that fits your needs and circumstances. Most therapists will provide a free consultation to see if they are a good fit for you. In the meantime, take care of your physical health and don’t compare yourself to others. Remember that everyone copes differently and your coping is not a reflection on your worth as a man. Allow family and friends to support you and ask for that support. Some family members or friends may not be able to be there for you, but some will. Try not to take this personally. Seek out people who can support you! Contact A New Day Family Counseling
Gwen Ginski, MEd, LCSW
Resources for Men
Headsupguys – A self-check to help men determine if they are experiencing symptoms of depression headsupguys.org/mens-depression/self-check/
Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) – A self-check tool to screen for unhealthy alcohol use, defined as risky or hazardous consumption or any alcohol use disorder www.audit.org
Anxiety Screening Tool – psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/
ManTherapy – A public office campaign that offers information about mental health to reduce the stigma www.mantherapy.org