November 19th marks International Men’s Day, a day to celebrate positive male role models and raise awareness around men’s mental health and other issues affecting men.
At TELL, we recognise that mental health struggles can impact anyone, regardless of gender. However, social stigmas and traditional gender roles often make it difficult for men to openly discuss their mental health challenges or seek support.
In Japan specifically, depression and suicide rates are tragically high among middle-aged men. Rigid societal expectations about masculinity and providing for one’s family take a toll. We believe no one should suffer alone.
I joined TELL’s Board in 2021, motivated by gratitude for the TELL outreach specialists who delivered a mental health workshop for my colleagues and me at Robert Walters Japan during the difficult early months of the pandemic. Their guidance taught us to recognise when resilience was stretched thin and identify ways to strengthen ourselves while also fostering an open culture for healthy discussions.
In recent years, I have also been inspired by the growing number of male senior executives in Tokyo who are breaking stigma by openly discussing their own health needs and vulnerabilities – true leadership through strength and vulnerability.
This International Men’s Day, let’s celebrate these men in our community sharing their stories and showing that being a “strong man” means recognising when help is needed. We also honour the men who volunteer for our Lifeline, and those work in our clinic and outreach teams, providing a compassionate ear.
At TELL, our services are open to anyone struggling with mental health concerns. We encourage reaching out if you need someone to listen without judgement. Our volunteers are here to take your call or chat.
We hope this year’s International Men’s Day inspires discussion about supporting the wellbeing of men in our lives. Please reach out if you need support. You are not alone.
– Joshua Bryan