The Myth of Mental Illness and the Truth About Mental Health: A Man’s Journey to Freedom

Part 7 – The Men’s Health Revolution and the Moonshot for Mankind

            This is the final part of the series. You can check out Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4,  Part 5, and Part 6 if you missed any of the previous parts. In the final part of this series I will introduce you to a few healthcare heroes working at the cutting edge of men’s mental, emotional, and relational health. We’ve come a long way since 1949 when my uncle drove me to the mental hospital to visit my father who had become increasingly depressed because he couldn’t find work to support his family. In many ways support for men’s mental health has improved greatly over the years. Yet, we also face increased health challenges that make the times we are living in even more challenging.

            As Gabor Maté says in his powerful and prophetic book, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness & Healing in a Toxic Culture,

“I have come to believe that behind the entire epidemic of chronic afflictions, mental and physical, that beset our current moment, something is amiss in our culture itself, generating both the rash of ailments we are suffering and, crucially, the ideological blind spots that keep us from seeing our predicament clearly, the better to do something about it. These blind spots—prevalent throughout the culture but endemic to a tragic extend in my own profession—keep us ignorant of the connections that bind our health to our social-emotional lives.”

            I recently had the occasion to have new business cards printed. They have a picture of me and my wife, Carlin, beside the following words: Jed Diamond, Ph.D. Helping Men and the Women Who Love Them Since 1969. That’s a long time to be working, but I realized, too, that in many ways the year I really began working to help men and the women who love them was 1949.

Long Live Men: The Moonshot Mission to Heal Men, Close the Lifespan Gap, and Offer Hope to Humanity

            After my 15th book, The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationships and Why the Best is Still to Come, was published in 2016, I felt I had written my last book. My first book, Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man, was published in 1983 and fifteen books seemed like a significant body of work. I wanted to spend more time with friends and family and to teach, train, and mentor the next generation of healers who were coming into the field.

            My wife, who was always supportive of my work, but never suggested I write another book, offered me an unexpected challenge.

“I think you need to write at least one more book,”

Carlin told me. I was more than surprised, since writing a book takes me a few years and at this stage of our lives we both are cutting back on our work, not taking on more.

“With all that is going on in the world and the increasing conflicts between men and women, you need to write a book that brings people together.”

            The result was the book, 12 Rules for Good Men, which was lauded by colleagues including John Gray who said,

“I’ve known and appreciated Jed’s work for more than 40 years and he has been doing men’s work for more than fifty. This is a wonderfully helpful guide for both men and women.”

Unfortunately, the book came out just as Covid was hitting the world and I didn’t get a chance to do much promoting.

            I was able to invite a group of colleagues who were doing exceptionally good work in the field of men’s mental, emotional, and relational health to join me in what I called our Moonshot for Mankind. I wrote a book, Long Live Men! The Moonshot Mission to Heal Men, Close the Lifespan Gap, and Offer Hope to Humanity. The book will be released worldwide later this year. The final chapter includes a section written by each of the colleagues who are founding members of our Moonshot for Mankind.

The Moonshot for Mankind and Humanity

            I have come to believe that men are both the canaries in the coal mine alerting us to the dangers humanity faces as well as the hope for humanity. Here are some facts about men as a group compared to women:

  • Men die younger.
  • Men’s immune system is weaker.
  • Men are more likely to suffer from developmental disability.
  • Men die at higher rates from nine of the top ten causes of death.
  • Men are victims of over 92 percent of workplace deaths.
  • Men die from suicide at rates 3-10 times higher than women.
  • Men are simply weaker than women at every stage of life from birth to old age.

At MenAlive, I discuss our Moonshot for Mankind. At this stage of my career, spanning more than fifty years, I want to use the time I still have to make the most positive impact in the world. Nearly twenty years ago, my colleagues Randolph Nesse, MD and Daniel Kruger, PhD examined premature deaths among men in 20 countries. They found that in every country, men died sooner and lived sicker than women and their shortened health and lifespan harmed the men and their families.

They concluded with four powerful statements:

  • “Being male is now the single largest demographic factor for early death.”
  • “Over 375,000 lives would be saved in a single year in the U.S. alone if men’s risk of dying was as low as women’s.”
  • “If male mortality rates could be reduced to those for females, this would eliminate over one-third of all male deaths below age 50 and help men of all ages.”
  • “If you could make male mortality rates the same as female rates, you would do more good than curing cancer.”

We understand that there are biological and evolutionary differences between males and females as well as genetic and hormonal differences that favor female health and longevity. We also know that there is much that men, and the families who love them, can do to improve the lives of all males.

Two years ago I invited a number of colleagues who I knew were doing exceptionally good work to improve men’s mental, emotional, and relational health and wellbeing to join me to help create a Moonshot for Mankind. We launched our first programs online in July, 2023. Here is a short description of the other founding members:

Frederick Marx, is an internationally acclaimed, Oscar and Emmy nominated director/writer with 45 years in the film business. His film HOOP DREAMS (1994) is one of the highest grossing non-musical documentaries in United States history. He is also the author of numerous books including Rites to a Good Life: Everyday Rituals of Healing and Transformation and Turds of Wisdom: Irreverent Real-Life Stories From a Buddhist Rebel.

Lisa Hickey, is CEO of Good Men Media Inc. and publisher of the Good Men Project, an online multi-media, cross-platform content site and conversation asking the question “What does it mean to be a good man in the 21st century?” She has been invited to speak at corporations, colleges and universities, about a variety of topics, most recently Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She has performed at open mike comedy clubs and poetry slams. She is the author of three books and the mother of four children.

Joe Conrad, is the Founder and CEO at Grit Digital Health –– a team of specialists in behavioral health, wellness, technology and marketing committed to transcending barriers like stigma and access to help people get the support they need, when and how they need it. Joe and his team are the creators of Man Therapy, an innovative and award-winning campaign that uses humor to engage working-age men in an immersive, entertaining, digital experience where therapy actually happens.

Shana James, For 15 years Shana has coached more than a thousand leaders, CEOs, authors, speakers and people with big visions who step into more powerful leadership, start and grow businesses, create more effective teams, increase their impact, get promoted, find love, rekindle spark, create a legacy, and become more personally inspired and fulfilled. She is the author of Honest Sex: A Passionate Path to Deepen Connection and Keep Relationships Alive.

MaLe Corona, is an advocate of human wholeness and radical aliveness. She facilitates men’s groups that restore the somatic nervous system and enhance the quality of men’s presence, as they practice embodied relating. She quotes Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score:

“One of the clearest lessons from contemporary neuroscience is that our sense of ourselves is anchored in a vital connection with our bodies. We do not truly know ourselves unless we can feel and interpret our physical sensations; we need to register and act on these sensations to navigate safely through life.”

Please come visit our website, Moonshot for Mankind, and join us. We are looking for individuals and organizations who share our vision for a better world for all.

This is the last article in this series. If you would like to read more articles like these, I invite you to join our mailing list. It is free and you will get the latest information on gender-specific healing and men’s health.

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