I was not aware until a few days ago that June is Men’s Mental Health Month. Of course, I know about Movember (I partake in it every year) but I had no idea that June was Men’s Mental Health Month.
It seemed like the right time to finally launch the Dad Tax Podcast. In the first episode, we talk about men’s mental health, why it has become so critical, and why it’s important to address in the wake of Uvalde, the pandemic, and other day-to-day struggles for men.
Did you know that men commit suicide at a rate 3.88x higher than women?
We also talk about ways to recognize depression and how to address it instead of burying it deep inside. It’s time to take men’s mental health seriously.
When I was much younger, I didn’t know how to swim. And prior to my father, he pretty much completely disappeared from my life. I was in a lake in Connecticut, and I don’t recall the lake I don’t recall much about that day. But I do recall one thing, getting in over my head literally getting in over my head in the water. And I didn’t know how to swim. So it was learn to swim or die that day. I don’t even remember how old I was. But I had to be pretty young. And I did learn how to swim that day, underwater. And eventually, I learned how to swim, you know, like, above water and how most people know how to swim. But it was out of fear. In that moment I had to learn to either swim, or I was going to drown. There were no lifeguards, and I don’t think my father was paying any attention. Not that that’s a surprise. I’m not here to bash anyone. I’m here to tell you a story. And the story was all I learned how to swim. Because if I didn’t learn how to swim that day, it wouldn’t be here today. That was 40 some odd years ago. And it’s an interesting tale of the conquering of fear because you don’t have a choice. So begs the question, if we don’t have a choice, but to end something or conquer something. What do we do? Do we run? Do we accept defeat? And take our licks? Or do we face that fear head-on and conquer it Welcome to the dad tax podcast, a podcast for dads by dads a podcast for all things, dads, including mental health, fatherhood challenges, relationship sports, business, grilling, and more. So put on your white new balances, sit back in your reclining chair. And let’s talk dads. So welcome to the first episode of the dad tax podcast. And the intention of this podcast is to talk all things Dadon. Sometimes the conversation will be light-hearted and fun. Sometimes the conversations will be very serious, as I intend to do today with the first episode. It’s kind of ironic that we’re starting on men’s mental health month, I was not even aware that June was men’s mental health month until just a couple of days ago. And I’ve been meaning to launch this podcast for a while. And I saw that and then the events that unfolded at Uvalde at Robb elementary school just a couple of weeks ago, as I’m recording this. And it really got me to think in his time to start this podcast because there are some very difficult conversations that need to be had in our country, in as men and fathers, things that need to be talked about, and dealt with. I’m one of those being men’s mental health. But also, it’s time to look at the gun issue in this country, the fascination that we as a country have with guns, and mostly speaking about these automatic rifles. And I won’t say that I’m an expert, I am not an expert on on guns by any stretch but I just think that any gun that can be used to shoot and kill dozens of people within minutes is just unnecessary in a population. But we’ll get to that shortly. I don’t mean this to be a political podcast, that is not the goal here. I’m not going to argue whether or not the Second Amendment is still necessary. And really the focus of this is more about the mental health of men of all ages. Because it was age-wise it was a man that did the shooting. He was he had just turned 18. So legally, he’s he’s considered an adult male, a man in this country. But also the fathers that had to withstand the trauma of the shooting those that lost children a day and those that had children inside the school and they had to wait to find out if their children were okay. So I’m going to come from a sort of a personal angle on this. And I’m going to start with I heard a story and I don’t know if it’s true. I’ve been trying to verify it, but I but I have not been able to independently verify it. But I heard a story of a father who was asked why he was not crying. And his response was I can’t cry, this is the father of a Uvalde Victim.
I’m I don’t know, if I’m saying it right, you’ve all the victim. And he said he can’t cry and the person who asked him why he’s not crying, I said, Well, why can’t you cry? Of course, you could cry. He said, No, I cannot. He said, Look, everybody around me is crying, I have to be the strong one, I have to be the one that people count on and can lean on during this time. That sums up fatherhood. In just a couple of sentences. Again, I don’t know if that’s true. If that was really asked, I heard it somewhere, I don’t know where I heard it on the radio or something. And I have not been able to verify that. So I don’t know for sure if it’s true. So I’m going to tell you about an incident at my kids’ school. So I am a father. I have three children and a grandchild. So I have a 26-year-old daughter, who has a son who’s about to turn four. I have a 12-year-old son and an eight-year-old daughter as I’m recording this. So the two younger kids are, of course, in elementary school, sixth grade and second grade this year. And at least once a year, there is a threat of you know a bomb or something in the school. And of course, again, this year, there was a threat. There was a rash of threats around the country, I think around the same time. And I don’t recall what it was if it was gun violence, or if it was another bomb threat. Which just goes to show you how incensed we are to these things at this point. But I do recall that they evacuated the school and you know, they were either the kids could get on the bus, or we could go pick them up. Now I have the fortune, the good fortune of having some flexibility in my workday. So I went to pick them up. And when I arrived at the school, there were cop cars everywhere. There were cops at the entrance in and I think they were probably going through the school. And I gotta tell you, some emotion came over me it’s a scary scene to see cop cars lined up at your kids’ school. And they were actually checking cars as they came in, I think to see if there were bombs on them or something. I don’t really know what they were checking, but they were stopping cars and checking them including me. This is scary. And this is not something a child should have to endure. And it’s sad that my 12-year-old son, he pretty much gets it where as my daughter, not so much. She doesn’t really get it yet. She kind of does, but not exactly the emotion that comes over you. In this kind of scenario, it’s unbelievable that your children have to go through something like this. And there was you know, it turned out not to be credible. I think they kept armed police at the school for an extra couple of days. And they do have guards there in the school at all times. They, but the range of emotions that you feel you feel relieved that your kids are okay, but you also feel sad that they have to go through this. Now imagine how a father feels after something like Uvalde or Sandy Hook, which happened right here in my home state of Connecticut. I think it’s been 1213 years now. I’m not sure when No, I think it’s less than I think it’s been nine years. Yeah, I think it’s nine or 10 years now. So Sandy Hook, the same type of scenario. guy went in with a gun, automatic weapon to get more than one gun automatic weapon killed, I don’t know the numbers, but I believe it was 20 children and six adults or something like that. Why does it happen? Why does it only happen here in the US? Yes, I know these things happen in other places around the world, but not at the frequency it does here in the US which is supposed to be a world leader supposed to be a country that other countries look up to. And we’re afraid to send our kids to school. So now let’s wrap in men’s mental health. So here we have these school shootings, and really mass shootings constantly. Every few days there seems to be another mass shooting their shot up a prime, a predominant Lee black grocery store in Buffalo for no other reason. Except that it was mostly black people in the store in a black neighborhood. And most of the shoppers were black My children are half black. So something else I have to look out for. So they’re mixed.
They’re interracial children, black and white. And something else I have to worry about for my children. They’re black, and they’re also interracial, which some people don’t like. Yes, it’s a real problem, who says you might be listening to this podcast and say, That’s not a real problem. Those things are not here. They’re still here. And I’ve seen it firsthand myself. I’ve heard some of the comments. I’ve heard comments when my son plays baseball, I’ve heard some comments from other people, and I just choose to not address it at that point in time. It’s not the place at baseball game is not the place to do it. My son’s baseball game, but I hear the comments. I’ve my wife has been pulled over. Because she was black. She has been stopped at work bringing case files to her car, because she’s black. It does happen, and you don’t want to believe it. And I guess more power to you, but it does happen. And I consider myself an ally. I’ve used what I call white privilege to step in and intervene for, for not what I call white privilege. It’s white privilege. But I’ve used it to intervene in scenarios where there was some injustice. But my children are black, and they’re interracial. And also my grandson is also interracial. And so that could potentially be a problem, a bigger problem somewhere down the road. I don’t know. Um, but I hope it’s not. I hope, you know that generation changes. And I hope that they never have to confront those things. But I can tell you, my daughter already has Fortunately for her, my son was also there to intervene.
At eight years old, she was seven at the time, seven years old. Now, we’ll talk about that in another podcast. So that weighs on parents. The focus of this podcast, the dad tax is on dads.
men’s mental health. So what does it mean it’s not taken seriously enough, the highest rate of suicide in this country is men. Bottom line men by it’s not even close men, because we don’t have an outlet. I know that mental health is spoken about more now today than it ever was for for all walks of life. But there is a stigma with men. Men are supposed to be the strong ones. Men are supposed to be the tough ones. Men keep everything inside. And we do we keep a lot inside. And there’s various reasons we keep that inside. You know, some of us had rough upbringing some of us on, I don’t feel like we have anybody we could talk to. There’s just so many reasons why men feel like they cannot express themselves or go to see a therapist or mental health therapist. My wife is a mental health therapist, and I can’t go see her. She’s, you know, too close. But I know. I’m around people that are that are psychologists, mental health coaches I’ve in a BNI group I belong to there’s a mental health professional. A really good friend of mine is a mental health professional. Two of my clients are psychiatrists. So I’m around mental health professionals all the time. And they will tell you, Yes, you men should seek mental health services. It’s not quite that simple for the vast majority of men in this country still today, in the United States, men, actually I’m not sure if it’s the United States or if this is around the world, but men died by suicide at a rate 3.88 times more than women. The highest rate of suicide is middle-aged white men not talked about a lot. On average, there are 130 suicides per day, almost 70% of suicide deaths in 2020 were white men, and firearms accounted for 50 Almost 53% of all suicide deaths. Again, the gun problem, but you know, we’ll leave that out of the equation for the moment. 93% of adults surveyed in the US think suicide can be prevented but how? We got to take mental health a little more seriously. Let’s take it a step further the man and I’m using air quotes here that committed the mass murder is involved, he probably wouldn’t even be considered a suicide. It’s he was shot in, in the commission of a crime, so it probably won’t be considered suicide. So the rate is probably even higher, even though he probably went into that school knowing he wasn’t going to come up. And let’s talk about men’s mental health a little bit. Again, June is men’s mental health month. So this is important. According to a poll of 21,000 men, by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics NCHS, nearly one in 10 men reported experiencing some form of depression or exam and anxiety. I think it’s higher than that. I think that men may not recognize the symptoms either and suppress it. Now, this also says that less than half of them sought treatment. Again, the rate of suicide for men versus women men is 3.8 times higher. Depression When left untreated, can in some cases reach a crisis point of suicidal contemplation. I think women, there’s a stigma for men, when it comes to mental health, we’re supposed to be the strong ones. And in some cases, women don’t help with that. They, further that stigma, I think less now than they used to, but I think it still occurs in relationships. Six in six and 10 men experienced at least one trauma in their lives. Again, that may be higher, I think men tend to suppress it. Some men don’t realize that a traumatic event happened in their childhood until later in life,, they suppress it to the point of not remembering it. Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women. And also have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations. and are more likely to have used alcohol before dying by suicide. Alcohol is a depressant. So whatever you’re feeling is going to be magnified if you’re drinking 49% of men feel more depressed than they admit to the people in their life.
I again think that number might be higher. And more than 1000 Men revealed the truth that many assume men are much less likely to voice struggles with mental illness, and even thoughts of suicide. This was a survey on the Today show.. They surveyed more than 1000 Men reveal the truth revealed the truth that many assume men are much less likely to voice struggles with mental illness, and even thoughts of suicide. I would venture to guess the number of men who have thought about suicide at least once in their life is in the 90 percentile. I don’t have any statistics to prove that I don’t have any evidence of that. But I would venture to guess them. So we come we combine the fatherhood aspect of this. So our job is tough, right? There’s a there’s still that stigma of men don’t play an active role in their children’s lives. It still exists today. Even though it is so much more prevalent today than that men are active in their children’s lives. We you know, we participate. We in we play with our kids, we take them to their activities, we help them with schoolwork, we teach them that there’s so much we do with our kids so much we do it our kids and the father’s role in a child’s life is critical. And it has been proven time and time again, you can go do the research that I father’s place in a child’s life is critical to that child’s success in life and could prevent future generations of this exact problem. Mental Health. I don’t know the shooter’s story involved. I do know that he lived with his grandparents. He had some kind of disagreement with his grandmother supposedly and shot her in the face. I’m not sure if she had last I heard she was still alive. I don’t know if she has or not, but does not sound like his home life was the greatest. And I’m not suggesting that we coddle our children. I don’t believe in that fully, I think yes, discipline and structure are important, but also support in softness in those things are also important, you know, and I think having both parents play an active role in both supplementing and in the supporting of our children, building them up, you know, teaching them, that they can accomplish things, helping them, show them how to accomplish things, sometimes given them that a little bit of a nudge, a push, to help them accomplish things on their own, you know, to help them become better citizens in the future that’s important. Does not sound like the mother or father was in the Uvalde shooter’s life. And in the case of the Sandy Hook shooter, I believe he was living with his mother, not sure where the father was. He did have mental problems. And I don’t know why the mother was collecting so many guns either. I just don’t understand why people have to have so many weapons for what, what do you need it for? But that’s again, we’re not here for that. We’re not going to talk about that. We’re talking about men’s mental health. So we have this, I’m going to use myself, I’m going to be the guinea pig here. I have children that are interracial. They’re black, and they’re white. You know, my Well, my wife is Haitian, I am half polish half Italian. So they got a little bit of everything in them
has not been a big issue. Like I said, my daughter did have an incident on the school bus. Earlier in the school year, my son was there to intervene. So didn’t really go too far. We got involved right away and Zoltan got squashed. Shouldn’t have happened I live in what is considered a progressive area should not have happened. But it did. My wife’s had a few incidents, I’ve had some strange looks when we’ve been out. I can tell you about an incident in South Carolina, where we were in an Italian restaurant. And I had my nephew who was 100% Black with me and he had to go to the bathroom. So I took him to the bathroom, being the only adult male there. And I got some crazy looks in an Italian restaurant. It happens it is still it’s still a problem. So I have to worry about them. I have to worry about every time I go to school, could something happen. And I can’t. After that shooting and Uvalde My mind went off the deep end speaking of men’s mental health. And for days, I just could not stop thinking, what if my daughter, my youngest child was faced with that situation. And her final thoughts. That’s all I kept thinking about. That is not an easy thing to think about. She’s a tough kid, but she’s she just doesn’t comprehend something like that yet. And I don’t want her to she shouldn’t have to. But that’s something else. We have to worry about men’s mental health, our relationships, you know, our wives or girlfriends, our significant others, whatever they might be. You know, there’s relationship struggles, financial problems. These are all things that men take in. And they let it sit and sit and sit until until we one day erupt. And that eruption could be violent in nature. It could be suicidal in nature, it could be depression, it could be so many different things road rage. I hate to say it, but maybe another school shooting or grocery store shooting? I don’t know, you know, what? What is the breaking point for someone to get to to do something like that? Did they always have mental health issues? Supposedly the Uvalde shooter never had any reported mental health issues. So whether it was he just undiagnosed? Or did they suddenly happen? Was there a snapping point and breaking point for him? The if not addressed enough, you know, in Uvalde, again, the it is a primarily Spanish speaking part of Texas, and being men in Spanish speaking. I can tell you that south of the border in the US, you know in the Caribbean and South America. men’s mental health is not a thing. They don’t believe in it. So it’s possible that it was just overlooked. I don’t know if the shooter was was white or Hispanic, I’m not sure. But it could have been overlooked. It could be that the he did have problems. There were noticeable problems. But nobody addressed it because it’s that stigma again. men’s mental health. We’re supposed to be tough. We’re supposed to just suck it up and deal with it. But that’s not realistic anymore. We have a problem. We have reached that breaking point in this country. And maybe around the world I don’t really know It needs to be addressed, it needs to be taken seriously. And I don’t, I think, you know, it got a little bit of a shove, this June. And in October, I’m sorry, November, not October, October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is another big month for me because I’m in it. But November is also known as Movember, or No Shave November. And it’s the goal of November is to raise awareness for men’s health issues, mental health being one of them. And then you have a couple of forms of cancer that they try to wait raise awareness for, but men’s mental health is a big one. So I was unaware of June being men’s mental health. Now I know. Now we have something to talk about every June, and every November now, but we’ll be talking about it all year round on this podcast. So I’m going to try to make this a weekly podcast, I’m going to be honest, I have another podcast that I was trying to do weekly as well. It’s called the human element.
I have not been able to do that weekly. So I may not be able to do this weekly too, I will give it my best go. It is something I’ve wanted to do. For some time. I been asked to write a book, actually a couple of books one about fatherhood. And another one about cybersecurity. So, the cybersecurity book is started. It’s an I’ve been off of it for a couple of months now. Because I have been so busy in business. Speaking of men’s mental health, though, so I’m burnin had, I have a business now, the business in it and cybersecurity. And the business is about three and a half years old. The third years really when start things started taking off for me, which is great. But it also means writing work and a lot. So I will tell you, if you get into business, your own business, because you think you’re going to work less Guess again, you’re going to work more, you are going to work far more than you would in a nine to five. And that could affect men’s mental health too. And I know that more and more people are starting their own business. It’s great because I have flexibility. So if you know kids need me to pick them up at school, I can go do that. If when they have when my son has baseball games, and my daughter has gymnastics or dance, I can bring them I have that flexibility. Both my wife and I and I both have that flexibility where we can schedule around our children’s stuff, which is great, but we both work a lot. And mental health will take a toll if you’re not getting enough sleep. It will definitely take a toll sleep is important. Extremely important. And I don’t think enough people you know, some people will say well, if you’re if you’re sleeping more than four hours or five hours a night, you’re sleeping too much. That is a crock of you know what I’m trying to keep it PG for the for the Apple podcasts people out there, I don’t want them to flag my podcast. So this is what I will tell you. All right, I’m gonna start wrapping this up now. I will tell you, as a man, find a mental health professional and talk to them. Most insurance coverage, most insurances will cover it. Find a mental health professional psychologist and talk to them about anything and everything, you may uncover some things. So, you know, my story is my father wasn’t really around for most of my child. My years of growing up, my years of influence was not around. I’m not getting into the rest of the story for for this podcast for this episode. But someday you’ll hear the rest of the story for my upbringing. i By most accounts, wasn’t the greatest upbringing wasn’t the worst either, was somewhere in the middle, I would say in the bottom 30% or so. Had a lot to overcome, for sure. And I did seek the help of a professional for a little while. And it still was hard for me to talk. It’s not something that I think men in general are not able to express themselves, like they should be able to express themselves. But I would challenge you to do that. I challenge men, especially fathers so that you can end that cycle. Find a mental health professional, it’s really easy to do. I think there’s a website called Psychology Today. I mean, just verify that that’s right for you where you can go and you can find someone in your area that takes your insurance in go talk to them, schedule an appointment. I will tell you that, that mental health therapists are also overwhelmed right now there have been lots and lots of clients. As you can imagine, speaking mental health to COVID pandemic has also created a huge mental health problem with children. So don’t tell your children to suck it up, they need to talk to so many of you if you see signs of depression, anger, frustration, anxiety. And you can’t help them didn’t find someone who can. And it is Psychology Today, there’s a link at the top that says find a therapist you put in your zip code. Find a therapist in your area that takes your insurance. Go talk to them. You know, even if you only go a few times that the psychologists will tell you, the therapist will tell you if you should continue or not. In my case, she she didn’t feel like we needed to continue. So we stopped. But there are times when I feel like I need to talk to someone. So you need to talk to someone you need to find someone don’t, you know, if you don’t want to talk to your family about it, maybe it’s easier to talk to someone else, I
don’t know, maybe you find a friend to just talk to the friend. You know, I have a lifelong friend that I occasionally talk to about some things, we mostly just rag on each other. But you know if something serious is coming around, then we’ll talk about it. But either way, talk now, you also need to be able to recognize the signs that you need to talk to signs of let’s say, let’s say the signs of depression. Okay. So some of the signs of depression. And again, I am not a mental health professional, but I’m around people all the time. And the only real experience I have a psychology one on one in my own life and that of my friends and things like that. But showing you know you have a feeling of lost interest you you’re not interested in the things that you used to be interested in. Here’s the big one increased fatigue, you’re always feeling tired, but you also have trouble sleeping. You’re restless at night. Feeling anxious. So, nervousness restlessness, always feeling panicked, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, more sweating, muscle twitching. Those are all signs of anxiety, irritability, if you’re easily irritable, irritated, which is not a good thing to be if you have children really is not good. You need a lot of patience that when you have children, and trust me, you need a lot of patience, changes in appetite and weight. And I will go so far as to say either no eating at all, you completely stop eating, or you binge eat, like you’ve suddenly eating donuts all day long. These are these are, these are problems that should indicate depression, or could indicate depression, uncontrollable anger or crying. These are signs of depression. So you suddenly find yourself in a fit of rage. And you have no control over it. Or you find yourself crying, and you have no control over it. You don’t know why you’re doing it. And it just just jumps on you it just comes out of nowhere. You know, why is that happening? This is a sign of depression. Thinking about suicide. If you’re thinking about suicide, you need to seek help now. But if you see any of these symptoms in your life, or in somebody’s you know, in their life, they need to seek help. It’s enough enough with the with the stigma is right it’s time to stop, stop burying everything stop keeping everything in stop assuming you need to be tough all the time. Go get that help you need Do you know what the real hero is the real heroes the one that goal goes out there and find someone to talk to to help figure out what is going on and how to stop it. And and that curse in your in your family in your cycle. And the cycle you know I I ended the cycle of the father not being around in my family. And that cycle in your family and the depression and the stigma of men not being able to talk about their problems. If your wife for or significant other isn’t able to talk it out with you then find someone who can. Alright there’s people out there to do this professionally. Allow them to do it. They’re good at it. You know, look for someone with a reputation of being good at it. Especially those that have a history of working with other men and let them help. It is men’s mental health month and it’s time to take a seriously we have a lot to deal with. Okay, coming out of a pandemic, these mass shootings, especially the ones in the schools. Raising children is tough by itself. Marriage, dating, relationship, life, all of these things are tough to deal with. So I hope that this podcast reaches someone and help someone today. Go to Psychology Today and look for a Find yourself a psychologist or therapist, it’s pretty much one in the same so get the help you need, and stop living with that stigma. It’s not helping anybody, especially you, or your children is now helping you children. If you have children again, this is a father podcast. So I’m assuming that the majority of the people listening to this are fathers. So that is it for the first episode of the dad tax. I will try to have a lighter episode next week. But again, I we will talk about men’s mental health a lot on this podcast and I will try to have some experts come on and discuss it with us. I think it’ll be helpful. And I think, you know, if
we can just help one father, then that’s all that matters to me. So until the next time this has been a dad tax podcast this will be hosted at the dad tax.com where they’re also blog posts and other father related stuff dad related stuff, including dad jokes, and you know, just a lot of dad related things. So go check that out. And let me know what you think the dad tax.com And here’s your sort of your dad joke for the for the week. I asked my son how to spell way. He said w a y. I said, Well what about the F? He said there’s no effing way. As he’s saying that it can hit a groan there is no effing way. I said okay, cool. You’re grounded. That’s your dad joke for the week. Till next week, everyone
Transcribed by https://otter.ai