These are the questions we are being forced to ask surrounding the mental health crisis in young men. This issue negatively impacts everybody – including friends, family and peers of the afflicted. It crosses all social and economic barriers.
We expect young men to achieve a societal definition of success. However, we don’t spend time teaching them behaviors which drive success. We emphasize immediate outcomes and disregard the value of the growth in one’s journey. We allow them to take re-tests in school and receive trophies when they lose. The end result being that they feel entitled and don’t know how to fail. We have fragilized them in ways in which they need to build resilience, and overloaded them in areas in which they need safe progression. Developmentally, we’ve got it backwards.
Young men don’t know a healthy alternative. They don’t know how to act. We exalt the wrong role models and the absenteeism of positive male role models makes matters worse. Without an in-person example, they are subject to relentless mixed messaging from an average of 8 hours they spend on social media every day (yes, 8!). Their devices are leading them more than we are.
With all this in mind, it should not surprise anyone that mental illness is now rampant amongst young men. Anxiety has become the most common mental illness today. Anxiety is a feeling of excessive uneasiness and an underestimation of the ability to cope. It’s easy to understand why young men feel anxiety after we recognize that they have no direction and limited abilities to cope with life’s many challenges.
But it’s not leadership in the traditional sense of leading others. Instead, Invictus helps young men learn how to lead themselves. We develop personal leadership. We challenge perspective and develop behaviors which are vital to executing this concept. Ultimately, we want young men to be self-aware and self-disciplined. Using these skills, they can explore a life of purpose and be effective in their pursuit of something bigger than themselves.
These ideas not only ground us and help us handle adversity; they also help us connect to each other on a meaningful level. Even though we are increasingly connected digitally, we have been increasingly fragmented interpersonally. It has been disastrous for young men. Their well-being relies heavily on camaraderie and a sense of belonging. They need to experience safe, meaningful relationships in person with other men. Invictus features a structured curriculum which is delivered in a group mentoring format.
Young men learn the skills they need and get access to positive male role models whose mission is to help them self-actualize.
Education and support through a network of compassionate leaders is how Invictus fosters good mental health in all young men. We are banded together to help young men develop the perspectives and skills necessary to lead themselves through life in an effective and healthy manner.