Injury Management

The power of support networks

In the journey towards mental wellbeing, men often find themselves navigating a complex landscape of societal expectations, gender norms, and personal struggles.

Amidst these challenges, the value of having a robust support network cannot be overstated.

In this month’s Mentally Minded newsletter we explore into why support networks are essential for men’s mental health and how they can profoundly impact their lives.

Acumen Health Team Leader Graham Arndt talks about the power of support networks with his connections in this recently shared video.

For Graham, it’s a Sunday morning ride crew who get together to exercise for several hours before catching up over a coffee.

“Having a network that is diverse may allow you to see issues from different point of views and may offer various perspectives and assist you in having a more complete picture of your current situation,” Graham said.

Emotional wellbeing

Men, like everyone else, experience a spectrum of emotions ranging from joy to sadness, from excitement to anxiety.

However, societal norms often dictate that men should suppress their emotions, leading to a detrimental impact on their mental health.

Dr. John Ogrodniczuk, a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, emphasises the importance of emotional expression: “Having a support network allows men to express their feelings in a safe and non-judgmental environment, fostering emotional wellbeing and resilience.”

Mental health

Suppressing emotions can exacerbate mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety among men.

Dr Kenneth P. Rosenberg, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, stresses the significance of support networks in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health: “Support networks provide a platform for men to seek help, share their struggles, and access resources for coping mechanisms.

“By fostering open dialogue and support, men can confront mental health challenges with courage and resilience.”

Social connection

Loneliness and isolation are pervasive issues that can significantly impact men’s mental and physical health.

Dr Vivek Murthy, former Surgeon General of the United States, highlights the importance of social connection: “Support networks offer men opportunities for meaningful social interaction and connection, which are essential for combating loneliness and fostering a sense of belonging.”

Validation and understanding

Men often grapple with unique challenges and societal expectations that may differ from those faced by women.

Dr Michael Addis, a psychology professor at Clark University, underscores the value of peer support: “Support networks composed of peers who understand the intricacies of masculinity and the pressures men face can provide validation, empathy, and a sense of camaraderie.”


A support network can serve as a source of accountability, encouraging men to take responsibility for their actions and behaviours.

Dr Ryan Howes, a clinical psychologist, explains: “Having a support network that holds men accountable promotes personal growth and development, empowering them to make positive changes in their lives.”

Practical support

During times of need, such as job transitions, relationship issues, or health concerns, practical support from a network of friends and peers can be invaluable.

The significance of support networks in men’s mental health cannot be overstated.

By providing avenues for emotional expression, breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, fostering social connection, offering validation and understanding, promoting accountability, and providing practical support, these networks serve as pillars of strength in men’s lives.

As we strive to prioritise mental wellbeing, it’s essential to recognise the transformative power of connection and the profound impact it can have on men’s lives.

Sources and additional resources

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