Active Minds reaches out to male students with MEN-tal Health event
Jimmy Sheldrup (left) leads the discussion alongside other Active Minds leaders at the first MEN-tal Health event of the year last Thursday night.
Active Minds, the mental health advocacy club on campus, hosted its first mental health event aimed at men of the year last Thursday night.
Active Minds Treasurer and University of Portland junior Jimmy Sheldrup organized the “MEN-tal health” event, where he and two other men spoke and led a discussion regarding their personal experiences with mental health. This is the second year the club is putting on this event, the first of which was held last fall. “MEN-tal health” was inspired by Sheldrup’s experience of overcoming excessive obstacles in speaking about mental health, due to cultural stereotypes and expectations of men.
“We just talk about the stigma that men face in regards to mental health,” Sheldrup said. “Everyone faces some of those stigma, it’s a cultural thing to kind of be ashamed of mental health issues. But, the truth is that men face this a lot more severely because of gender roles.”
There were about a dozen men and two women at the event Thursday night in the Schoenfeldt basement, with multiple audience members sharing their own experiences and offering support to others. A common theme in discussion was that men do not feel comfortable talking to each other about their emotions, and sometimes suppress them as they became more problematic. Audience members shared stories of finally reaching out to others — or being reached out to — and how this helped them.
Sheldrup says he plans to organize more MEN-tal health events in other dorms throughout the year. The next MEN-tal health event is set to be held in Villa Maria Hall on Nov. 17 at 10 p.m.