Jack’s Story: My Identity In the Wake of Male Sexual Violence

Man looking forlorn

I was staying at my parents house for a summer internship before my senior year of college. It was an especially hot summer in LA, and I remember when I woke up that morning I couldn’t tell if what I was experiencing was a fever or if I had just forgotten what a real SoCal summer felt like. I remember sitting down on the toilet, looking between my legs and seeing blood. I remember thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

After one visit to my family doctor and then another to a specialist, I learned the man I had slept with the night before had left me with not one, but two treasures to remember him by: internal hemorrhoids with abrasions (the blood) and herpes (the fever). When I called to tell him, he didn’t answer. When I went to find him on the gay hook-up app where I had met him, his profile had disappeared. When I Googled his name and the hospital where he purported to work as a physician, I found nothing.

That’s the man who raped me. I don’t remember the name he gave me and I’m almost certain it was a lie, so let’s call him John R. Smith. The “R” stands for rapist.

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Why Black Men Face Greater Mental Health Challenges

A Black man bathed in red light

The emotional stoicism of Black men is something that few authors have talked about. Most notable of the few books on the topic, the author bell hooks’ work We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity discusses the lack of love and acceptance that Black men face, creating an emotional crisis.

Many men have not been told how to process and talk about their emotional experiences, furthering a sense of isolation, anger, and resentment. For these men, this creates an emotional volatility that can sometimes manifest in seeming “shut down” in relationships and friendships. At its worst, this budding resentment can manifest in outward expression of anger, aggression, and even violence. This is discussed further in Charlie Donaldson’s and Randy Flood’s book Mascupathy: Understanding and Healing the Malaise of American Manhood.

Many men (arguably most) struggle with the idea of being openly vulnerable and sharing their emotions. And for those who grew up as sensitive boys, they are often subject to ridicule and shaming for what are natural and healthy expressions of emotion. Black men face a unique challenge in that most of what is most prized about them may be their looks or bodies, but rarely ever their intellect and emotional intelligence. These things are often deemed too soft for any Black man to experience, delivering the message that if you are those things then you must change…and fast.

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7 Men Breaking the Mold on Mental Health

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Understanding your mental health requires spending a lot of time analyzing and sitting with your thoughts — something that goes staunchly against everything the patriarchy stands for. Both men and women suffer from this culturally embedded misogyny: talking about your “feelings” is considered women’s work and an entirely unsuitable activity for manly men.

Mental health issues affect men and women equally, but men are less likely to seek help and more likely to die by suicide. In order to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, more men are coming forward publicly to share their struggles. Normalizing these issues for both men and women is an important step in our national mental-health conversation — and these seven men are leading the way.

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Why Don’t Men Ask for Mental Health Help?

man sitting starting out window over city

On January 17, 2010, Joshua R. Beharry stood on a British Columbia bridge, attempting to end his life.

Luckily, his attempt failed, and today Beharry is a mental health advocate and Project Coordinator of HeadsUpGuys, a British Columbia-based campaign to support men who have depression. He tells his story so that men, and all people with depression, can feel empowered to reach out.

“I didn’t really start out trying to reach men more specifically,” Beharry wrote to Talkspace in an email interview. “But through my work at HeadsUpGuys I’ve come to realize that a lot of guys go through similar issues and face similar barriers to reaching out as I did.”

Beharry is not alone. While more women than men attempt suicide, more men than women — 3.53 times more, in fact — complete it. This contradicts the widespread notion that depression, and other mental illnesses, are women’s diseases — and points to a serious gap in mental health resources for men. Researchers have found that while factors like racial discrimination and cost of mental health care prevent men from reaching out for mental health help, there’s another culprit: toxic masculinity, or harmful stereotypes about what it means to be a man.

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How Science Says Meditation Eases Anxiety (and 4 Simple Ways to Begin)

Snorkeler dives toward meditating buddha

Whether it is a looming work deadline, pressure at school, or a case of FOMO brought on by social media, stress and anxiety are, unfortunately, a normal part of this modern age. But, just because you experience these uncomfortable feelings, it doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about it. In fact, practicing mindful meditation is a low-cost, scientifically proven way to help reduce your anxiety ― and anyone can do it.

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Attempting to Understand Suicide

Hands reaching out to each other with a sunset background

In light of the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, and headlines that suicide rates have climbed in the past twenty years, suicide has become a topic that is widely covered in the media.

Many sociologists and epidemiologists attribute increased suicide rates at least partially to economic variables. Suicide rates often rise in times of economic uncertainty, like the most recent recession, since this makes people feel more scared and hopeless. The opioid crisis may also play a part. You can read more about these theories here.

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Speaking Openly About Suicide: A Talkspace Therapist Roundtable

Suicide hotline numbers

Since 1999, suicide rates in the US have increased by more than 25%, a harrowing statistic that points to a growing public health emergency. With the loss of two bright stars in a single week — iconic fashion designer Kate Spade, and celebrity chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain — to suicide, we wanted to bring together three Talkspace therapists to discuss and answer questions about one of the most taboo topics in Western Culture.

We remind you that there is no shame in asking for help and if you’re in crisis or know someone who is, don’t wait. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 –– call them: 1-800-273- TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

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11 Mental Health Podcasts to Subscribe To in 2018

While talking about mental health, therapy, and mental illness is still relatively taboo, there are some incredible trailblazers out there who are helping to break the stigma. The more we speak up about these topics, the less taboo they become. What better way to openly talk about mental health to a large audience than through a podcast?

Here are 11 examples of mental health-related podcasts that are informative and entertaining!

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Why Do You Constantly Reach For Your Phone?

Man on bench looks at smartphone hunched over

Whether you’re waiting for a train, commercials to end or the oven to finish preheating, you likely kill those brief moments by mindlessly scrolling or swiping across your phone screen. You’re not alone in this new normal. During our day-to-day lives, most of us live with our cell phones perpetually within close reach — mostly to Google a dinner spot, text a friend, or scroll through Instagram. But those who constantly reach for their smartphones might be doing so due to anxiety or depression.

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