Where do you go when you want an up close and personal perspective on Mental Health from a Millennial male perspective? We know plenty of terrific young men and there’s something special about interviewing your own son. Kellen joins us on Mental Health After Dark to discuss Mental Health Millennial Male Style.
Question and Answers from Kellen:
What is your perspective on mental health issues? Do you feel any stigma around sharing mental health issues with other people?
I’m very empathetic towards people with mental health issues. Both sides of my family have had mental health struggles and I’ve suffered from various mental health issues. I don’t necessarily feel a “stigma” about sharing mental health issues; however, I’m not very open about my own issues with other people. Obviously everyone won’t feel as I do about this, but I generally don’t think my issues are anyone else’s business. That being said, if a person shares their mental health issues with me, I’m not going to freak out and be taken aback by it. It’s pretty hard to shock me.
How do your peers view someone with a substance abuse issue, depression, anxiety, etc?
This is a tough question as I don’t think my “age/peer group” has anything to do with how they would feel about those issues. Generally I feel like where you come from and where you currently live are the main factor on how you feel about those things. I’ve met people my age who are very open and empathetic about substance abuse and mental health and I’ve also met people my age who consider those subjects taboo. Some would rather insert religion or morals into the conversation than talk about them. Most of the people my age that have more conservative views are from, you guessed it, conservative states and/or families. I do feel, however, that this is changing every year as younger and younger kids have access to the internet, social media, etc. which I think breeds a more liberal mindset.
Have you had an issues with mental health? Do you feel comfortable sharing what they were and how you took care of those issues?
Of course I have. When I was younger it was mostly depression and mild anxiety. As I get older, the depression has faded but the anxiety got worse for the most part. I don’t think anything other then me getting older and having more life experience was “taking care” of those issues.
Did you feel like you could not share these problems with anyone your own age, at your place of employment, with your family, etc.?
People my own age? Sure. Place of employment? Absolutely not. I work within a pretty conservative office (when I am not working with Mental Health News Radio) so I don’t think it would be welcome. Of course I can talk about literally anything when it comes to my peers at Mental Health News Radio. That being said, I also don’t think it would be professional at my other workplace but I don’t feel I’m being “oppressed” or anything. There is a time and place for talking about your mental health issues and work isn’t one of them for a lot of people. Family? Yes and no. For the most part I don’t talk about mental health issues with my parents for a few reasons. With my mom, I feel like anything I say she considers “her fault” so I don’t really discuss it with her that much anymore. I used to tell her everything but as I’ve gotten older, I am more careful about what I share. She hears from everyone all over the world and their problems. I’d like more of her time but I’ve grown up a lot so I try not to get angry with her if she’s helping someone else. If I really need her she drops everything and that is what is more important. With my dad I feel he’s pretty easy to talk to because nothing phases him. I don’t unload my issues on him though. His mindset is similar to mine; more internal and laid-back which I respect. Growing up, I felt like I was more like my mother in terms of how I handled things or thought about the world. She’s there for everyone but getting better about that and I had to stop doing that because it was too draining. Now that I’m older, I’m definitely more like my father. Pretty laid back and not phased by most things that go on in my life.
Do you think it is easier for men your age to be open about their mental health issues?
Yes and no. Generally I think we’re at a time in history where men can open up about these things but, I also think more men have a crisis of masculinity today then they did 20+ years ago. Short answer is yes, I think men can open up about their issues, but it’s also because we are more neurotic in today’s world than we’ve ever been.