(MEN)TAL HEALTHY: A Q&A with Men's Health Editor-in-Chief Richard Dorment
Let’s get straight to the point. When it comes to mental health, men have an uphill climb. 97% percent of Men’s Health readers say they consider mental health an important part of their overall wellness, yet less than half have opened up to a friend about their mental health struggles. 53% say there’s a stigma attached to seeing a therapist. This month, we've teamed up with Men's Health to bring greater awareness to men's mental health. We caught up with Men's Health Editor-in-Chief Richard Dorment to talk more about their focus this month, why mental health is so important, and how we can each do our part in helping ourselves and helping others. Here's what he had to say.
What made you want to focus solely on Mental Health during Men’s Health Month?
Mental health has been a huge focus of ours at Men’s Health—for too long men across America have been reluctant to talk about issues like anger, anxiety, and depression, and we’ve seen that reluctance wreak havoc on our bodies and our relationships. Happily we’ve seen that begin to change, and as more and more men are open to discussing their thoughts and feelings with others—and are open to working as hard on optimizing their mental health as they are their physical health and fitness—they’re turning to Men’s Health to learn how to make those positive changes in their lives.
What was the inspiration behind your partnership with Rhone during Men’s Health Month?
We’re big fans of Rhone—huge—and not just their (excellent and super comfortable) clothing. We’re fans of the values that the company represents—of vitality, of continual self-improvement, of generosity with ourselves and others. When we first started thinking about partners for our celebration of Men’s Health Month, Rhone was our first (and only) call.
The slogan for the campaign is (Men)tal Healthy? Tell us how you came up with it and what you want to signal to men.
The slogan came out of a lot of great dialogue between the MH and Rhone teams, and I think it spoke to something we all felt intuitively but maybe wasn’t being said out loud: that you can’t have a real conversation about mental health, and mentally healthy behavior, without focusing at least some of that conversation on men. By using the parentheses to set off the “men” in “mental,” we’re able to playfully, but powerfully, elevate the role of men in the broader cultural conversation about mental health.
Men’s Health is essentially the entirety of your job. How do you feel men could benefit from being more open about their health, both emotionally and physically?
At Men’s Health, we like to talk about health as a 360-degree proposition: whole body, whole mind, and whole life. If one of those three areas of your health is hurting, the other two will suffer, and our goal with each issue of the magazine (and every day on the web site) is to help our audience become stronger, faster, better version of themselves in every way possible. There is no end to the amount of research that ties mental health to everything from cardiovascular and neurological health to substance abuse and obesity, so the more we can help our audience understand those connections, and the more we can equip our audience with the tools they need to maintain and improve their mental health, the better off we’ll all be.
As part of the (Men)tal Healthy campaign, you have partnered with Mental Health America. Can you tell us a little about them and their involvement?
We’ve been fans of Mental Health America for some time now, and we’ve long admired their ambition to help people discover purpose, vitality, and strength through mental health. Their focus on a holistic approach to health—especially mental health—make them an ideal partner for this initiative, and we’re proud to donate 100% of our net proceeds to such an amazing organization.
If there were only two things you want men to take away from the focus on mental health this month, what would they be?
Only two things?! Okay: the first thing is that the absolute worst time to start caring about your mental health is when you realize you have a mental health problem. (That’s like waiting until you’re super sick to start caring about your physical health.) Mental health is no different from physical health in that it requires our attention and our care every single day, and the more we’re able to develop daily mental health habits, the stronger and better we’ll feel in every area of our lives.
The second thing I’d like them to take away from this is that each of us can be a model for others in how we talk about and invest in our mental health. By speaking up and speaking out and sharing our stories with people in our lives, we’re sending a message to others (and especially other men) that there is no shame or embarrassment in these conversations. Mental health is health, and by normalizing it and discussing it and aligning ourselves with initiatives like this one, we are breaking down those tired old ideas about mental health that have held us all back for way too long.
To further ignite this conversation, we have teamed up with our friends at Men’s Health to create a limited edition tee for June’s Men’s Health Month. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to FitOps, a non-profit organization founded with the mission to reduce veteran suicide by helping them find new purpose through fitness.
Your support makes a difference, your voice will be heard, and your health is important to us.