Men’s mental health under the spotlight

Monifa St John
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By Carlena Knight

The observation of Men’s Health Month in June motivated one female to organise a discussion to bring awareness to the wellbeing of males.

Yesterday, Monifa St John hosted a Facebook Live discussion entitled “Men’s Health Talk – For Men by Men” during which the panellists focussed on the mental health of males including childhood trauma, differences in gender socialisation, relationships, help-seeking behaviour, and more.

St John said that the discussion was timely in light of two recent incidents of suicide by men in Antigua.

 “Men need help. Men need to get answers and this is one of the main reasons why we started these types of discussions,” said St John.

“We need to help our men by helping ourselves and get educated about what’s going on and with mental health being a topic that is not widely talked about in Antigua and Barbuda and in the Caribbean, we decided to shed a light on it and we think it’s very important that we touch on things like childhood trauma and relationships.”

She is hoping the discussions can help break down barriers in a society which teaches men not to show emotion. According to St John this is why men shy away from seeking medical help.

“We train men to, if you fall down, ‘just get back up man’, but if the girl child falls down we say ‘oh come here, this is problem’. From small, we train our men to think that they don’t need to show emotion or they don’t need to show that side of them, else it’s not being masculine.

“In my research, I figure from the Caribbean region, more so our race, I feel like we don’t teach our men to show emotion and this is a problem. We need to change that narrative and to change that mindset that guys can show emotion and it has nothing to do with their masculinity.”

St John hosted the programme which featured clinical psychologist Dr Marcus Mottley, men’s advocate Daryl George, and mental health psychologist Dr Sydney Retemeyer, among others.

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