October 25th, 2018

Talk More

The Importance of Being a Man of More Words
Mental Health | Real Stories | Video

This Father’s Day, Movember Foundation is urging dads all around the world to prioritize their social life, grab a friend and make an effort to become a “man of more words” or simply put - talk more.
A recent study conducted by Movember analyzed social connectivity during fatherhood, and the results clearly indicate the continued stigma among men when it comes to opening up about their mental health, especially among dads. Nearly 70% of fathers reported an increase in their stress levels during the first year of fatherhood, with 40% of young dads (aged 18-35) reporting feeling socially isolated.
Toronto-based Adam Anava (34), father to three young boys (Nathaniel, 7; Benjamin, 5; Oliver, 3), can attest to the power that speaking out can have after he himself struggled through severe anxiety and depression following the birth of his first son. After his wife Revital (35) was injured in a car accident and suffered both physical and mental injuries, Adam took on the role of primary caregiver to their infant son. He was, however, unprepared to deal with the psychological issues stemming from the accident and the immense pressure of having to deal with fatherhood, helping his injured wife and catering to a new baby. As Adam continued to spiral, his struggle began to impact everyday life tasks and he wasn’t even able to muster the energy to make it to the park across the street with his new son.
After six months of feeling isolated and depressed, Adam was forced to open up to a group of close friends when he experienced a panic attack behind the wheel. He was in the car with his wife and two friends when the highway began to back up. “As soon as I saw the slightest bit of traffic on the highway I started to panic, scanning for an escape route and looking for all options [to help mitigate the situation] including if I needed to pull over, jump out of the car – all of my thoughts were being driven by panic,” Adam recounts. “Trying to suppress my feelings and fears only amplified the negative reaction. It wasn’t until my friend started to open up about his own personal struggles with mental health, that I began to feel the weight of my own struggle being lifted. He helped me to normalize what I was feeling, which was the first step in accepting and overcoming it.”
By taking that first step to open up and surround himself with a close group of friends, Adam has been able to manage his anxiety and depression. “I began to understand that, though my struggle was unique to me, struggling in itself is not unique. That was the key for me - understanding that we all go through challenges, but that we don’t need to be ashamed of the battles we fight,” Adam says. “My friend Allen, who helped me open up, was a god-send during this time. He endured his own mental health struggles and eventually lost his battle with stomach cancer at only 32 years old. Father’s Day is a special time for me as I look to embrace and appreciate the men in my life, the role I play as a father to three amazing boys, and the bittersweet memories of the important men that are no longer with us. Allen is one of the biggest reasons I am able to be the father I am today.”
It’s for this reason Movember is hoping to encourage men to better recognize the signs of stress, empowering them to speak up when the going gets tough rather than continuing to fight these battles alone, like Adam did. This summer, Movember is embracing the concept of a “man of more words,” encouraging conversation around mental health, social connectivity and awareness with the hope of normalizing these once “taboo” topics, integrating them into everyday conversations and helping men internally to just talk more. It’s that simple.