Our senior living columnist has a suggestion for overcoming the stigma of men’s mental health.
When the oil light goes on in his car, a man will likely do something about it. But when it’s his own body and mind, he’ll downplay it or deny it, thinking he can work through it. Men have traditionally been reluctant to express their feelings, particularly where isolation and loneliness are concerned. There is a dangerous cultural perception that men need to be “tough.”
I would welcome a men’s group in Woodbury where men can unburden themselves of their emotions—a place to share and be listened to. What would bring men to a support group, especially men in the second half of life? When the children all leave home, how many men still have their college buddies, their Army comrades, their boon companions? What do fellows do to avoid being lonely as they age? What would draw men out? I picture a space where mates can say something in a group, feel safe and not feel judged.
Sometimes we need an outside perspective in order to see our way through a hard time. There is healing in someone just listening to you, and giving you the space to say what you want to say. That can be enough, and it’s not about fixing anybody.
If you are interested in joining such a support group with a mission—to support men who are living with feelings of loneliness and isolation by sharing and growing together—please call 651.600.4642 to get involved.
Margaret Wachholz is the campus marketing director at Woodbury Senior Living. In her column, she shares observations and wisdom about aging and senior living in our community.