Exploring Men’s Wellness
At Dallas College Eastfield Campus on Thursday, Nov. 3, we will embark upon the Men’s Wellness Connection, a day when we highlight the importance of men caring for their emotional, mental and physical health.
Ending Male Mental Health Stigmas
Males with mental illness do not have a character defect. Rather, mental illness is caused by genetics or potential environmental injustice or violence. The results of childhood trauma or overwhelming stress related to school, work and home environment are also factors. Chronic health complications, such as cancer or diabetes can add to these stressors.
Mike Veny’s book “Transforming Stigma, How To Become a Mental Wellness Superhero” looks at how society looks differently at people with mental illness and evaluates males’ hesitancy to ask for help. Veny offers insight into understanding the stigma cycle and what prevents students from asking for help. Moreover, he discusses how to replace shame with self-care.
David McLean blogs, “It really is OKAY to not be okay,” and shares five ways to reduce stigma:
1. Know the facts. Educate yourself about mental illness.
2. Be aware of your attitudes and behavior by examining your own judgmental thinking, reinforced by your upbringing and our society.
3. Choose your words carefully. The way we speak can affect the attitudes of others.
4. Focus on the positive. Mental illness, including addictions, are only part of a person’s life.
5. Support people. Treat everyone with dignity and respect by offering support and encouragement.
We know that the struggle is real and sometimes an encouraging word, or asking the right question, can move the needle towards better mental health.
Physical Health Supports Mental Health
As important as it can be for men to take care of their mental health, or to seek to care for others through supportive conversations, it is possible to miss the fundamentals of our own physical health. Always being on the go and driving ourselves physically can lead to disrupted sleep patterns and emotional and physical exhaustion. Commonly credited to Hippocrates, there is a saying that “A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession.”
Here are five key recommendations for how men can best maintain their physical health:
- Get enough sleep. Most people need about eight hours of sleep a night, and disrupted sleep contributes to poor performance and mood disruption.
- Choose healthy nutrition. Eating fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole foods is critical to a healthy body. Staying hydrated (about 15 cups per day) is a key part of healthy nutrition.
- Move that machine. Get sufficient physical activity, on average about 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week is recommended but choosing something over nothing is key. Do what works for you.
- Practice good preventive care. This includes the daily things like brushing teeth, flossing and washing hands, but also other key components like having a primary care physician and getting regular checkups.
- Chill out. Find time to relax daily. Burning the candle at both ends can lead to chronic fatigue and a host of other issues. Find a practice that works for you (meditation, prayer, reading a book) and schedule some good quality down time.
Self-Care Makes Men Stronger
When men care for themselves, they can better care for others. When men are physically and mentally strong, they are empowered to accomplish the things they set to do.
Join us Thursday, Nov. 3, to discover the many ways men are getting stronger. Learn more (and sign up!) for the Men’s Wellness Connection at dallascollege.edu/MensWellness.
Food will be provided for those attending in person.
Dallas College Free Health Care for Students
Do you need to speak to someone about a health issue you’re dealing with? At Dallas College, we never want you to feel alone. Our certified nurses and mental health counselors are here to help you — for free!
Please note: If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 911 or visit the nearest hospital emergency room rather than requesting an online counseling session.
Our nurses and counselors also offer a variety of events throughout the semester to support students. Upcoming events are listed on the main college calendar as well as the webpages below.
Article by Curtis Hill