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#NotWeakJustHuman

Not weak, just human. This is the tagline and overarching sentiment of the Men’s Mental Health Social Interest Group that was recently formed at the Good Men Project.

Recently, they joined forces to create a public service announcement-like video during which they each open their hearts and share their own stories of living with mental illness. (“8 Men Share Their Mental Health Stories With One Unifying Message,” The Mighty, December 27, 2016).

This specific social interest group examines the stigma and prejudice against mental health issues in our culture that often prevents us—and men in particular—from getting the support that we need. Together, they work to destigmatize mental health. Recognizing that part of that work includes sharing their own stories, they created a video during which eight men show that everyone is dealing with something and those dealing with mental health issues are not weak, just human.

“I’m a father, blogger, engineer and mental health advocate. I was sexually abused as a child, and I got help. I’m sharing my story of living with disassociation, anxiety and PTSD to help inspire all men to reach out and not be ashamed,” says Matt in the video.

Next is Mike Kasdan. He’s a father, son, brother, lawyer and writer. He has depression. In 2013, he attempted suicide. At the time, he didn’t know depression was “a thing.” Now, he says, the more he talks about it, writes about it and lets other people in, the stronger he becomes.

The stigma of mental illness is deeply rooted, especially for men who may fear that their manhood will be compromised if they admit they need help. Stigma itself can be a powerful repellent that sends someone back into feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness.

That’s why we need to talk about it. Like the men in the video, we need to create an open space where people feel comfortable expressing themselves. And that is one of tenants of Mental Health First Aid.

These men are making a difference in their own lives, in the lives of a colleague or neighbor. Anyone, anywhere can be the difference and you can learn how by taking a Mental Health First Aid class.

Watch the #notweakjusthuman video.