EP – 78 Older Men’s Mental Health

Our conversation with Dr. Rob Whitley

Dr. Rob Whitley, Ph.D., discusses older men’s mental health issues. Rob Whitley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, and a Research Scientist at the Douglas Research Centre. He is currently a Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé Senior Research Scholar and an Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne. 

Rob and I discuss the different mental health challenges that older men can face in this conversation. We discuss several causes of mental health issues, such as the pain and breakdown of our bodies. Rob points out that as men age, we can lose our connections to friends, family, and other social points of connections like church and work.

Mental health is a broad phrase that can include many different types of behaviors. Much of the focus of the conversation is on depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. Many men often have an internal stigma about seeking help for mental health issues. Some internal stigmas center around the fear of loss of promotion or responsibilities at work. The stigmas can also manifest in the self-talk that older men internalize, such as, “I should be able to deal with this” or “I am weak if I need to reach out for help.”

As part of our discussion around how men need to feel comfortable discussing their challenges, Rob and I talk about the movement of Men’s Sheds. (See the link below) With Men’s Sheds, older men have a place to go to practice skills like wood or metal working along with building vital connections with other men. Rob also discusses how therapy offices and sessions are changing to meet men’s needs and operate more closely with how men communicate and interact.

After listening to this episode, be sure to like and subscribe to the podcast. The most important all is to share this conversation with anyone you know who is maybe struggling or is connected to someone who is struggling with any of the mental health topics discussed in this podcast.

Links

Click HERE to view Dr. Rob Whitley’s McGill University profile

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Rob Whitley’s book, “Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health

Click HERE to read Dr. Rob Whitley’s latest article, “How to Talk With a Man About His Mental Health.”

Click HERE to discover Dr. Rob Whitley’s YouTube Channel, “Recovery Mental Health.”

Click HERE to view Dr. Rob Whitley’s articles published in Psychology Today.

Click HERE to learn more about Erik Erikson’s term Generativity. There is a lot of information about Erikson and Generativity.

Click HERE to read Robert D. Putnam’s article, “Bowling Alone,” published in 1995.

Click HERE to read about Emile Durkheim’s theory and types of suicide

Click HERE to learn more about the U.S. Men’s Shed Association

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EP – 51 Talking about Mental Health with Our Grandchildren

Our conversation with Dr. Gene Beresin, MD, MA

Our guest is Dr. Gene Beresin. Gene is a great guy and is working hard with the devoted staff of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. According to the center’s about page, The Clay Center “…is a free, practical, online educational resource dedicated to promoting and supporting the mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being of children, teens, and young adults.”

I knew that Gene would be the perfect guest to talk about how grandparents can be part of helping grandchildren through emotional and mental health issues. In this conversation, we talk about the importance of building connections with our grandchildren. If problems arise, they and their parents feel comfortable including us in the difficult discussions around emotional health issues.

We discuss how being open with our emotional challenges can lessen the awkwardness and shame that children and others can feel when dealing with mental health issues. Gene and I also talk about the recent revelations from gymnast Simone Biles about withdrawing from the Uneven Bars and Vault in the 2021 Summer Olympics. Simone started to not feel like she was mentally able to compete and was dealing with a phenomenon known as the “twisties.” We both agree that having public discussions about mental health can and should go a long way in helping our grandchildren. We believe that the grandchildren need to know that they are not alone when they are experiencing challenges themselves and that hopefully, they will feel safe enough to talk to someone, including their grandparents.

Gene and I also talk about the grandfather’s role and how we, as grandfathers, are the keepers of the family narratives. Grandfathers offer a profound bridge to the past that can inspire and entertain our grandchildren. We often hold a hundred years or more of family history in our memories from our discussions with our grandparents.

You will be sure to enjoy this conversation. When you finish listening to Gene and me, be sure to check out the links below and leave us a comment about your big takeaway from our conversation.

Helpful Links

The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds

Gene Beresin, MD, MA – About Page

The Value of Being a Grandparent: 7 Ways to Support Your Family’s Emotional Health – A great article written by Gene

Shrinking It Down: Mental Health Made Simple – The Clay Center’s Podcast (They will be starting season 5 very soon, be sure to check out their podcast!)

Sara Rattingan – Super Star Communication Specialist who helped to get Gene and me together. Thanks, Sara!

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