Nearly 300 students packed the two sessions of “You Good, Bro?,” Bryant University’s Day of Understanding panel on the importance of men’s mental health. They had come to better understand a subject that often goes unexplored — and to learn more about how to deal with it.
In a discussion moderated by Andrew Nagda ’26, president of Bryant’s chapter of Active Minds; Rob Richards, MS, LMHC, LCDP, Bryant’s associate director of counseling services and adjunct professor of Psychology; Jesse Tauriac, Ph.D., director of the Lasell University Donahue Institute for Ethics, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Josh Odam, founder of Healing While Black, discussed the mental health crisis affecting men — including a heightened risk of suicide for that gender group — and the resources that can help alleviate some of that burden.
Gender roles and societal expectations, the panel noted, have created an expectation for men to be strong, stoic, and in control — to ignore pain, both physical and emotional, and to mask whatever turmoil they might feel inside. That same cultural conditioning that causes men to ignore mental health concerns means they are also less likely to seek assistance, leaving them to bottle up their emotions.
It comes down to a simple physics problem, the panelists said: When pressure is applied, it must be released somewhere — and often in ways that are detrimental to both those doing the bottling and to those around them.
“The thing about this conversation is that we are all in the thick of this, and this is hard for all of us,” said Odam.
Avoiding that negative eruption, they suggested, requires both acute, targeted care and regular maintenance. In addition to traditional counseling and therapy, which Richards noted was available for all Bryant students through the university’s Office of Counseling Services, the group reminded the audience that there are other ways to deal with mental health stressors. Chief among them, they suggested, was finding and forming communities that actively look out for one another.
Addressing mental health concerns, the panel argued, isn’t a sign that we are weak, but that we are strong. “We don’t want to romanticize the road to recovery,” cautioned Odam, who likened it to recovering after an injury and going to physical therapy. “It is hard, it sucks, and it does not feel good in the moment. But we know that this is what is necessary to get better.”