Has anyone noticed the lack of kindness towards younger generations, especially Gen Z, in the last months, or is it just me? Today, it is common for members of previous generations (particularly millennials) to brush off any problems we face. Mental health problems are overlooked, which in turn are dangerous for our society, given the recent mass shootings in the USA. Significant mental health problems in boys/young men should be addressed more often. Companies whose main target groups are younger people should invest in good campaigns that can help men find feel more confident and have their struggles recognised.
Today, let me present two brands tackling men’s mental health problems perfectly.
Nivea’s ‘Strength in numbers’
Men are being taught all sorts of things growing up, how to be a man/how to behave as a man/how to be strong and whatnot. These are all phrases that I also heard growing up. Talking about how I feel wasn’t one of them, if I recall correctly.
1 in 3 men says that they experience loneliness on a regular basis. NIVEA MEN believe that ‘taking care goes beyond skin‘, so they partnered up with the charity Talk Club and the football club FC Liverpool and figured out a rather simply way to not only help young men but men across all age groups to start talking about their mental health together. Throughout 2022 the campaign was communicated to everyone that reached out to them.
How it’s supposed to go:
So how did the campaign work? It is rather simple, the first question was ‘How are you? Out of 10.’ Let’s say your answer has been rather low (below 6), this will prompt a friendly talk with one of the staff members or literally any one that you want to talk to. The goal is to TALK, and not to keep all your emotional baggage to yourself. Speak about something that you are grateful for from last week, it can be anything. In the end the question, ‘How are you?’ is asked again, to check if you actually feel better now. I really think that this is a good way to get men of all ages to open up more, since Liverpool FC is followed by many men and can give them a feeling of ‘your mental health’ matters too, making them feel valued.
Here are some tips while talking to your male friend/family member or colleague:
- It works both ways. If you each share your numbers, you’ll get stronger together
- No one got fit going to the gym once. Check in often
- Fight the temptation to solve the problem. Listening works better
- Sometimes a text won’t do. Talk face to face or give them a call
- Do an activity while you talk. It helps the conversation flow
- If someone breaks down, it might be time to help them get help
Gymshark’s ‘safe space’ barbershop
As a man, I know that for almost any guy the barber is a calm and relaxed place to talk about life, catch up with your friends and just have a good time while you get your hair done. Personally, I think that Gymshark really nailed this campaign. The barbershop is the perfect place to have these conversations, since it’s a judgment-free zone where guys have a mutual understanding. It’s common for men to open up to their barber.
The barbers received special mental health training too, so you could be confident in their ability to help you with problems you have. The campaign ran from the 12-17 July 2022, during which the haircuts were also free for everyone. I think that many other barbershops should implement this in their day-to-day business to show that they care about their male customers. Gymshark also sold its merchandise, from which all profits went to mental health charity, Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably).
So, to sum up, I think we can agree on the fact that men’s mental health problems aren’t talked about enough in today’s time. These campaigns were a first step in the right direction; to give men the feeling that they are not being ignored and their feelings matter.
Featured image: Filippo Peisino / Pexels