Advocating for men’s mental well-being is one that is very important to me. I was raised by my father who struggled with his own darkness at times. I became aware of his pain while looking retrospectively. I also have 4 brothers, and I’m a single Mom of a 10 year old boy - my guys are everything to me.
I’ve seen the impact society/life has had on all of them in each of the different generations. Especially with struggles leading to addictions and other unhealthy coping mechanisms, and a loss of where to turn to “feel better.” It’s always been ok for me as a female to not be well or need help. To cry and ask for emotional support again and again. But the stigmas for them have been so unfair and it’s made their individual healing much harder and prolonged.
I have also met many amazing men outside of my family who are hurting immensely. Whether from loss due to heartbreak or betrayal, severe wounds from childhood trauma, or other reasons for depressions/anxieties, many of these men are sitting in their pain without much support. I wish I could offer them ways out of their internal struggles. It saddens me to see so many “strong” and “brave” men barely keeping their heads above water. Using all their energy just to get through a day at work, or to go home and be the best dad they can with such little happiness inside.
On a personally relatable note, I’ve heard many of my male friends and family speak of how fishing brings about the peace and healing they can’t always find elsewhere. It brings purpose, mindfulness, and connection to nature - all extremely important aspects when fighting with our own darkness.
I know I can’t heal them myself, but I can certainly spread awareness that it’s ok for men reach out for support, like so many of us women do. There is zero shame in having emotional pain. It’s important to advocate for men’s mental health and help reduce stigmas in order to help those who are suffering. I hope to be a mom/sister/daughter/friend that can encourage the men around me, who feel like hope is lost, to reach for a hand (or pick up a rod) when they need one.
Written By: Nicole Gatter