Gents with Brains caters for men’s mental health



MASERU – Studies have shown that while more men are seeking support for their mental health, they are doing so at much lower rates than women. A wide range of factors are said to influence their decisions to seek help, including beliefs about masculine ideals as well as structural barriers such as finances, knowledge, and the availability of appropriate services.

As a result, Gents with Brains, which is a local psychosocial support group for men and was established in 2021 by a small group of young and middle-aged men after observing that their psychosocial needs were not being met, seeks to close the gap by providing assistance to men who are struggling with emotional, psychological, and financial problems.

The group was founded to dispel cultural, social, and economic stereotypes that men do not need to open up and discuss their problems. The body’s mission is to provide and support a safe space where men may talk about their issues with their peers in order to lessen psychosocial ailments as well as deal with mental health issues and overcome social barriers.

Tele James Molorane, the President of Gents with Brains, said they wanted to create awareness that men should know that their lives do matter and that it is not ideal for a man to kill himself because he thinks that is a solution to the problems he might have. “It is very important for men to know that we have developed a platform for them where they can voice out their problems freely without being judged,” Molorane said.

Currently, the group is based on social media platforms, with its members communicating through WhatsApp. Ithabeleng Makhakhe, who has recently joined the organisation, is confident that it is going to change him for the better. He said he was a very selfish young man who did things only to please himself, not minding about other people.

“Now I am part of this winning team, and I have learned that working collaboratively with others helps a lot of men who used to isolate themselves, like myself, to become better, speak out whenever they need to, and also to care for others,” said Makhakhe. “I am looking forward to engaging in sessions that will build me as a man and to offering support where possible.”

More than 80 men from various backgrounds have joined the WhatsApp group and are said to be active on a daily basis. The group has recently held a roundtable discussion, among other things, on financial burdens due to unemployment or inadequate pay for those who are employed.

The members have also recognised and acknowledged that men are perpetrators of physical violence against women and children. The group also discussed how its members could actively participate in the prevention of gender-based violence. “Men who do not receive the necessary professional help end up committing suicide, and so the group must pledge to participate in suicide prevention programmes,” reads the organisation statement.

“The organisation’s main goal is to reduce mental health problems by encouraging and advocating for men to discuss their problems with professionals or, at most, their peers on a regular basis.” The statement further reads: “We have noticed that by providing a forum for open discussion, more men realise that their problems are not unique and that many others are dealing with similar issues while some have overcome them.”

The group intends to participate and engage in mental health advocacy and awareness campaigns for men and young boys, encouraging them to have constructive conversations and to seek professional mental health counselling. It is also committed to collaborating with all stakeholders on gender-based violence issues, actively participating in its elimination, and improving men’s financial stability by encouraging them to participate in financial literacy programmes.

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