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The American Psychological Association is officially recognizing the role “masculine” expectations play in the lives and mental health of men and boys. In that effort, they’ve released a series of guidelines for psychiatric professionals to keep in mind when assisting male patients.

“Boys and men have historically been the focus of psychological research and practice as a normative referent for behavior rather than as gendered human beings,” the guidelines state. “In the past 30 years, researchers and theorists have placed greater emphasis on ecological and sociological factors influencing the psychology of boys and men, culminating in what has been termed the New Psychology of Men.”

The guidelines focus on how rigid gender roles, oppression of feelings, rejection of help, power and privilege, aggression and violence and other environmental factors impact men’s behaviour and mental state.

In recent years, it has become less taboo for “masculine” men to come out and talk about topics like their own mental health, vulnerabilities and respect for women. Celebrities like Terry Crews, The Rock, Justin Baldoni and Matt McGorry are just a few leading the charge.

 

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Almost one year ago – I gave my first @ted talk in front of an audience of 1200 incredible women, and a few awesome men. This is a short excerpt from the 18 minute talk. (If your curious- I’m adding the link to the full talk in my bio) I’ve sadly seen how messages of equality have been weaponized politically (especially in the media) but I feel it’s important to say – that this talk and my personal views here, should not be taken as political. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. My belief and desire to explore masculinity and attempt to be an active ally extends far beyond borders, walls, and party lines. To me this work, and why I am even willing to talk about it publicly has always been about our shared humanity and equality. So regardless of politics or whether one recognizes themselves as a feminist or not, to me it’s simply “The radical notion that women are human beings”. I of course believe that today even more than I did a year ago. I pray for a day when women are believed when they bravely come forward. I pray for a day when women feel safe and supported wherever they go in the world. Beyond that, I pray for a day when women don’t have to come forward because we have ended this epidemic of gender-based violence. #ManEnough #heforshe #believewomen #equality

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This one felt good. Surprise! Bought my mom a new home for Christmas. All our lives growing up we lived in little apartments all across the country. Lived like gypsies on the road from one state to another. The first home my parents ever lived in was the one I bought for them in 1999. They divorced about 5yrs later and as with life, stuff happens and things got a little complicated. Since then I always made sure my mom and dad have everything they’ll ever need – houses, cars etc. But the house this time is a special one and the timing is very meaningful. I told her to treat this card like it’s “Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket” because she gets to choose any home she wants – anywhere she wants. I always say, if you got a good mama, then you gotta pretty good shot at becoming a decent human being. And somehow, somewhere along the line I became one lucky SOB to be able to make stuff like this happen. Merry Christmas Ma and WOOOHOOO enjoy your new home. Dwanta 🎅🏾

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Corporations are also starting to realize that the images they project of men and masculinity have a huge impact on the public psyche. Gillette released a new “Best Men Can Be” campaign (featuring Terry Crews) addressing common harmful tropes and phrases like “boys will be boys.” The ad encourages men to re-examine their view of masculinity and act as an example for a kinder, more thoughtful, more respectful and more open version of manhood.

The impacts of hundreds of years of harmful learned behaviour are going to be hard to combat, but the conversation is looking promising. To learn more about it and join in, you can visit resources like Man Enough (Justin Baldoni’s social movement) or listen to the APA’s podcast Speaking of Psychology where researcher and author Wizdom Powell, PhD discussed the new “Boys and Men” guidelines. Plus text, tweet and snap for all types of mental health support on Bell Let’s Talk Day January 30th.

It’s time we started talking openly about our mental health. Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 30, and help end the stigma around mental illness. For every text message (not iMessage) sent and mobile or long-distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health initiatives. The same goes for anyone sending a tweet using #BellLetsTalk, watching the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat, or using the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. But talking about it is just the first step: Visit letstalk.bell.ca for more ways you can effect change and build awareness around mental health.