When you break your ankle, your first thought is likely not to be, “Oh no! How am I going tell someone that my leg was broken?” What will they think about me? They’ll probably say, “Holy crap, my leg is broken and I need to get help as soon as possible.”
Even though your mental health is just as important as your physical well-being, many people have difficulty asking for help with issues they don’t understand. It makes it more difficult to talk openly about your mental health. It’s actually killing them.
It has never been more important for mental health to be discussed in a normalized way. As part of our Men’s Health campaign, we organized a roundtable with four prominent men. It was led by Drs. Drew Ramsey and Gregory Scott Brown are the co-hosts of Friday Session and Men’s Health advisors. Dr. Ramsey, Dr. Brown, and I were joined by NBA star Jimmy Butler and Zac Clark, an addiction specialist and Bachelorette alumnus, Jon Batiste, a recording artist, and Cory Richards, a National Geographic photographer. We talked for an hour about vulnerability and mental health turning points as well as strategies to find more joy in our lives.
This conversation was edited for clarity and space:
Gregory Scott Brown – What inspired you?
Cory Richards, I was on an expedition to Tibet. After I had gone to rehab and was in treatment for alcoholism I began to open up about my mental health. Then I felt alone and unable to speak with anyone. I began talking to my audience. Because I had no other resources, it was more reflexive. It was, in some ways, a basic attempt to speak about mental health to an audience. But it ended up being more like an overshare. It did open the door to positive feedback, even though it was not well articulated. It was then that I realized, “Oh, this could be meaningful for people.”
Cory: Cory is an adventurer who pushes the limits of your body and mind. What role has this played in your learning about yourself?
Richards First, I feel like I’m writing a lot about this right now. There’s a lot to discover through this process. I believe that physical pursuits can sometimes be addictive. Sometimes it is a way to cope. It could also be used as a positive outlet for anxiety and angst or artistic expression. It occupies both of these spaces. That’s what I find interesting. Sometimes, when I was really struggling, I turned to photography and climbing as a form of escape. Other times, it has been an expression. It’s been both a helpful and destructive behavior at times. It occupies both of these spaces.