Real Men Talk About Mental Health

A few weeks ago, Evan and our friend Aaron were texting, talking about what would be the best way to thank people for donating to Aaron’s Movember page. The idea of a “manly man” photo shoot came up, and we were rolling.

For those of you who don’t know or haven’t heard of it, No Shave November and Movember are month-long efforts where men (and sometimes women- yeah buddy! A few of my female friends and I have also partaken) forgo shaving to raise awareness for a variety of things including cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

Although Aaron has partaken in these efforts in the past, this year he decided to really speak up about why. He even began a “MoSpace” page to support projects focused on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

The reason he did this, this year, was because of this post Evan shared at the end of October.

“Here is a picture of the fake face we can put on even in bad times, to convince others we are happy.

We lost a great person this week to a cause that we don’t do enough to prevent and fight against. No one should ever feel so alone and down on themselves that they take their own life. This is why #WeNeedToTalk

I truly believe that by talking through our problems and admitting we need help, we can get through anything. And I know just how hard that can be. In the fall of 2013, I packed up my things so my family wouldn’t have to, and laid down with a bottle of pills with the intent of never getting up. I was disappointed in myself for letting things get so bad that I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone what was going on. I blamed myself and felt I deserved what I was going through, for I let things get so bad, and on the surface, I should have been happy. I felt as though I let everyone in my life down.

Luckily, I made to through that fall and began to get better over time, without ever fully getting over it. I still can’t talk much about that fall.

This past year, I once again spiraled into a serious depression and eating disorder that I still fight today. The hardest thing I have ever done was ask for help.

Because I did, I am a better man each day, even though I have my tough days. Even today, I am embarrassed to admit that I am not happy, and that I needed help. I feel as though I disappointed everyone to even consider taking my life, and that only pushed me farther to the edge at the time.

But from someone who has been to the bottom, if you or a loved one is struggling or feels this way, know that you are not at fault. You are so valuable and loved. It is ok to feel sad and alone. And the hardest thing you can do is ask for help, but it is worth it.

If you are struggling with anything, know that I care about you and you can beat it. And talking is the best way. Let someone know you need help or that things aren’t right and if my story sounds familiar #WeNeedToTalk

After seeing this, Aaron felt inspired by Evan’s strength, courage, and vulnerability. He began his Movember fundraiser and shared his story.

Aaron recently posted about his journey and the reason behind our “Real Men” photoshoot. He opened with, “Real Men talk about Mental Health. In the United States, 75% of suicides are men. Globally, every single minute a man dies by suicide. We NEED to start the conversation. I know there is an ugly stigma with mental health, depression and anxiety especially in men. A thought process we have just come to accept that it’s too taboo and not something to talk about.”

Yes, these pictures are posed. No, they don’t portray what a “real man” is or does. These pictures below are pictures of men, men who support speaking up, men who are bigger than a "tough guy" stigma, men who are brave enough to admit that they need help, or men that want to be there for others going through this. These are the faces of men who aren't afraid to share their stories, men who stick up for the little guy, or men who fight for their country. They are all brave. They are all "real men". They are just a few who celebrated No Shave November and Movember.

And to those people who don’t know how or if they are able to help, I can relate. For those who blame themselves for never seeing it, never noticing it, or feeling as though they have “failed” their loved one, I’ve been there. Sometimes I still am. Now, I have learned to reach out now, to always ask if I can help. Now, I usually am told that I can’t. Now, I am still not the person that they want to talk to… BUT at least, now, they know I care.

I don’t know the best thing to do to help, but to those suffering, you’re not alone and to those trying to help or feeling helpless, you’re also not alone. All of the people whose story I have shared today are available to you at anytime. We might not know the right things to say, but if you are ever feeling you are the only one, we are here. You can always direct message us.

Aaron: @AaronAumiller

Evan: @EvanGalimberti

Samantha: @SamanthaMaliziaFilms

If you ever need to speak with someone immediately, contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) or Lifeline Crisis Chat. If life is in danger, call 911 or go directly to emergency services.

To all those who partook in No Shave November and/or Movember, thank you. Continue raising awareness however you can, I am only one of many people who appreciate it. Although this post focused on mental health and suicide prevention, there are men all around the world, going through a lot of the other segments being supported by these organizations, and you are making a difference for more people than you know.

Thanks to all of these men who were so willing to show off their beards and smolder in support of our #RealMenTalkAboutMentalHeath efforts. Thanks to you all for reading!

Love,

Samantha

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