Talking About Male Mental Health


male mental health and anxietyWhat happens when your husband needs help? I’m not talking about putting a fitted sheet on a bed or picking out a matching outfit for your kid kind of struggling. I’m talking about mental health.

A couple of years ago, anxiety crept into my husband’s life and he needed an assist. Luckily, I recognized that and he did, too.

He’d always been a bit of a worrier. It ramped up during a stressful stretch of life. We had two young boys, full-time jobs, and were moving. I figured it would subside once things slowed down. It didn’t.

Then, some house issues came up. We had them checked out and I figured it was the end of it. It wasn’t.

See a pattern yet? The worry was hopping around. With each new issue he fixated on, he became less present in day to day life. He could function, but I could tell his mind was somewhere else and the worry was wearing on him. He was missing out on the here and now.

Maybe this kind of worry was normal?

I leaned on close friends and family to check me. Was it just stress? Did they notice it? Yes, they’d noticed.

I knew my husband needed to see someone, but I honestly wasn’t sure what to do next.

My dad gave me good advice: The people who need help don’t need you asking them what to do for them, they need you to figure it out and do it.

But, my husband didn’t have a broken arm. That’s an easy fix with a straightforward path and no stigma attached to it. How do you ask a guy to get help for his mind?

Getting Help for Anxiety

I gave him a few options and he was most comfortable seeing his primary care physician. Then, at my request, he saw a therapist a few times. He learned how to better manage his anxiety. He knows he needs to exercise regularly to clear his mind and take a step back if something is really weighing on him.

Duh. It sounds so simple. But, when you can’t get there on your own, there is no failure in asking for help. We get help to take care of our bodies, houses, cars, pets – why wouldn’t we take care of our mental health?

This story isn’t Earth-shattering. If the subject line had said, “woman gets help for anxiety” you wouldn’t have clicked on it. Men don’t talk about mental health.

I know I need spin class, Target runs, girls’ nights, and good coffee in my life or I would have run for the hills by now (sometimes, that is very tempting). My husband needs outlets, too. It’s easy to chalk up card nights, pick-up basketball games, or a drink with friends after work as annoying man things. They do serve a purpose. He’s connecting and doing the things that refresh him.

Figure out what you both need to help you feel good. Support each other and put a plan in place to make it happen. It’s not selfish to spend time doing things that refresh you.

If someone in your life needs help, talk to them. If you’re not sure how to start a conversation, go talk to a professional and ask them for advice. You won’t regret helping someone you love to get the tools they need to live a better life.


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