Men’s mental health on campus

Terin Frodyma advocates for men’s mental health. Photo by Jillian McIntosh / The Jambar

By Jillian McIntosh

In honor of World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, resources for men’s mental health at Youngstown State University have come to the limelight.

Francine Packard, director of Student Counseling Services, said men are taught to internalize their emotions because of societal stigmas. 

“Men don’t outwardly express emotion, or they internalize things,” Packard said. “Sometimes men’s mental health comes out not in vulnerable emotions like women — fear, sadness and hopelessness. We might see violence, aggression, high-risk behaviors [and] substance use.” 

According to Packard, physical issues such as fatigue or restlessness stemming from bottled-up emotions can do more harm than someone may think. 

“We see those [physical issues] with men but again, they internalize these emotions. So, it has to go somewhere. It’s like shaking up a pop bottle it’s going to explode,” Packard said.

Packard also said men are less likely to reach out for resources. 

“That’s the biggest difference that I normally see. Men won’t seek out services as frequently as women,” Packard said. “Women will posture suicidal behavior more than men, but men will complete more frequently.” 

Jake Sylak, a junior business administration major, said he has been making efforts to take care of his mental health. 

“One of the biggest things that I do is try to stay in the moment,” Sylak said. “Sometimes you get caught up in looking too far ahead and I think it can get stressful on you.”

Sylak said there are warning signs to look out for when someone is struggling with mental health. 

“It’s easy to get irritated at little things you normally wouldn’t. Being tired and lethargic kind of plays into that and not sleeping well,” Sylak said.

Terin Frodyma, a junior telecommunications major and a YSU men’s swimmer, said mental health can be affected by anything. 

“As you kind of go through just your day-to-day life, there are those challenges that come up within academics and athletics. With that comes a lot of challenges both mentally and physically where they are interconnected,” Frodyma said.

Frodyma said staying in contact with his family has helped him stay positive while being away from his home state of Iowa. 

“Being away from home, the biggest thing that I do is to frequently be in touch with my family and my friends back home,” Frodyma said. 

Frodyma said he recommends anyone struggling with mental health to learn how to manage emotions in a healthy way. 

“When it comes to coping for mental health personally, I’ve just learned to be okay with my emotions. I learned that it’s okay to cry,” Frodyma said. “I was understanding of myself that my emotions are valid, they are something that needs to be expressed.”

Frodyma said he uses journaling as a strategy to balance and better understand his emotions. 

“Sometimes, journaling is what we believe to do because putting words on paper and seeing [your] emotions and feeling heard is a gateway to recovery and to being happy,” Frodyma said.

Student Counseling Services are expanding its program by relocating to the third floor of Debartolo Hall.

“We are going to diagnose and then provide treatment options for students struggling with depression and anxiety, and a multitude of other types of issues,” Packard said. “It’s also going to provide us some extra space where we will have nap pods, red-light therapy and meditation space.”

Students who contact counseling services outside of office hours will be contacted the following day. 

“If somebody calls, we have an answering service that will answer and you press one, you’ll be connected to a live therapist that will help talk you through whatever you’re experiencing,” Packard said. “We’ll follow up in the morning with that individual.”

Student Counseling Services are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Kilcawley Center. 

For emergencies, dial 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.