NewsPanel Discusses Men's Mental Health Challenges at Point Loma Nazarene University

Panel Discusses Men’s Mental Health Challenges at Point Loma Nazarene University


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Point Loma Nazarene University’s Active Minds chapter recently hosted a panel event titled “The Secret Life of Men” to address the challenges men face when seeking mental health support. The event took place on April 10 in the Cunningham Dining Room and aimed to break down barriers and open a dialogue about men’s mental well-being.

The panel included Psychology Professors Ross Oakes Mueller, Max Butterfield, and Joel Sagawa, as well as Active Minds Secretary and senior psychology major Zach Sawley. They discussed topics such as male body image, societal expectations, media influence, and the impact of social support on men’s mental health. A Q&A session followed, allowing attendees to engage with the panelists.

Sawley noted that men’s mental health is not often openly discussed, as many men who struggle remain silent about their experiences. He also highlighted the limited research in the field, contributing to a lack of awareness and understanding of men’s mental health issues.

“As a male student at PLNU, I have both struggled and observed other male friends struggle, often in silence or isolation,” Sawley shared.

Active Minds President Adia Fadaei emphasized the importance of the event, citing the significant gender disparity on campus. According to university data, 66% of the undergraduate population is female, while only 34% is male. This imbalance can lead to the exclusion of male students from critical discussions around mental health.

Fadaei pointed out the various types of stigma surrounding men’s mental health, including professional, public, and individual stigma, which are often tied to toxic masculinity and societal expectations. She highlighted the need for open, honest conversations to reduce these stigmas.

“A lot of stigma surrounding men’s mental health stems from narratives of toxic masculinity,” Fadaei explained. “Men are often discouraged from showing vulnerability or speaking up about their struggles.”

Attendees such as second-year psychology majors Kate Bobadilla and Maddy Nafarrate found the event informative and insightful. Bobadilla appreciated the focus on reshaping narratives around men’s mental health, while Nafarrate valued the opportunity to understand her boyfriend’s experiences with mental health challenges better.

The panel’s discussions underscored the need for continued conversations about men’s mental health and the importance of challenging societal norms to support men in their journey toward better mental well-being.

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