- By Walter E. Wilson Jr., M.D., M.H.A.
The prevailing thinking is that men simply don’t express their emotions, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The discrepancy lies in how we define the term “express” as a man may choose to navigate frustration and anger in a quieter and more reserved manner or in a more visibly angry, explicit manner. Both are valid ways of expressing emotion. All men are different and operate along a spectrum of emotional expression.
Austin Kayser, a 4th year medical student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health had the opportunity to sit down and talk with NFL linebacker AJ Klein of the Buffalo Bills. They talked about mental health in the NFL, stigma, recent high-profile cases of athletes sitting out for mental health reasons, and the value of therapy, among other topics.
Stress affects people in several ways—it activates adrenaline and other hormones, the nervous system and immune system. While not all stress is harmful, and some can even be beneficial, chronic or toxic stress can contribute to health problems. “Men and women react differently to toxic stress because their brains are wired differently,” notes Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., of The Rockefeller University, * “and therefore they may be at risk for different stress-related illnesses.” For example, as a result of chronic stress, women may be more likely to experience symptoms of depression while men may be more likely to develop problems with substance use.