By Abigail LaRoy
When it comes to mental health, there is a pretty serious stigma surrounding masculinity, and being vulnerable with emotions. While the emphasis on self care is becoming more and more prominent in today’s society, males are still often left out of this group. Malone University is on a mission to end the stigma of struggling with mental health problems being equivalent to undermining masculinity. In order to do this, staff and students here at the school are making more resources available and more accommodating to students who are struggling. Some of those resources include residence hall events and lounges that can be used as a quiet space and the counseling center. People in general may not always feel comfortable opening up and seeking help for their mental health struggles, however, young men in particular may struggle with this issue more than the average female. According to Micah Czirr, Residence Director of Haviland Hall, it is more important now than ever for males to start opening up and accepting this it is okay to ask for help. “Young men are likely to have been brought up with the expectation…that as men we should deal with our own junk and not complain. Seeking support in your struggles is not a sign of weakness. Having the humility and awareness to recognize areas of struggle takes courage, strength of will, and a decent amount of work… I myself have battled a few items on that list and whenever I have reached out it has been a huge blessing in my life in multiple ways.” Said Czirr. Czirr also says that if you or a friend are struggling with your mental health, the best option is to reach out to your RA and RDs because they are there to help and better support students here at Malone. Tim Morber is a clinical counselor here at Malone University. He has been working in his field of practice for over thirty years and always knew that he had a passion for helping others and always wanted to work in a University setting. Despite the uphill battle that is young college students, men in particular, and mental health, Morber believes there is a solution to tackling the stigma. ”I believe we first have to be willing to admit that we are human, that we are broken, flawed, bruised, and hurting humans who long for spiritual and emotional intimacy. Then we have to be strong enough to seek help in ways that brings about holistic healthiness (spiritual health, mental/emotional health, physical health, social/relational health, etc) to better prepare us for spiritual and emotional intimacy opportunities, be it in large groups, medium sized groups, or small/dyad groups. Therefore, overcoming the fear of vulnerability and intimacy are paramount to ending the stigma of men and mental health, in my opinion.” Said Morber. Morber is one of two licensed therapists in the counseling center here at Malone that is available to all students. If you or a friend is wanting to get involved in this free and confidential service, you can email Tim Morber. Tony Schnyders is the Dean of Community Life and Student Engagement at Malone University. He is a strong advocate for young men opening up about their mental health as well finding positive solutions to dealing with stress and depression that come with being a busy college student. “My advice would be to utilize the community, whether that is professors, staff, or student leaders, because it isn’t healthy to just keep your thoughts bottled up. Students need to be honest about where they are at so that people can try to offer more support. Being active and getting off campus with friends can be helpful, but it is different for every student.” Said Schnyders. Schnyders also encourages students to talk to their friends about their struggles and collaborate with trusted friends to find solutions to process through difficult times. Opening up about mental and emotional struggles can be difficult for anyone to face. However, young men are at risk for silencing their struggling because of the stigma, that it is not masculine to ask for help and share emotions. Malone University is a place with dozens of resources to help combat this stigma, including resident directors and assistants, staff members, and the counseling center. If you or a friend are struggling with mental health and are searching for hope, don’t be afraid to reach out and get the help you deserve.