While much has been done in progressing the conversations around men and their mental health, new data from national biographer, StoryTerrace, reveals that there is still a long way to go.
Gay and bisexual/pansexual men in particular, are dealing with a plethora of post-COVID mental health concerns. Now, America’s top biography-writing service, StoryTerrace, are seeing more stories coming from men, from emotional accounts of overcoming loss and disaster to epic love stories and history-defining feats.
Amidst a nation shrouded in a mental health crisis, StoryTerrace, has revealed through thousands of of real-life stories that men are only half as likely as women to openly share their personal struggles. Just 37.9% of men’s books that are written via the service are focussed on overcoming personal adversity, in comparison to 62.1% for women. As it stands, 1-in-4 people will experience a mental health problem each year, according to Mind, with the current financial pressures of the cost of living crisis putting further strain on Americans across the country.
Whilst a stigma can sadly still exist for women talking openly about their mental health too, research suggests that men appear to feel this more acutely, and as a result are also less likely to seek out help. Society has come on leaps and bounds in recent years in relation to breaking down the stigma, yet there is considerable progress still to be made.
StoryTerrace has commissioned enlightening further research which suggests that significant change might not be so far away. The data found that 28% of the public stated they want to share their difficult experiences so others facing the same issues would feel more accepted and understood. Crucially, this percentage was identical for both men and women.
There are several activities or techniques that have been evidenced to help improve our mental health and general wellbeing. Rutger Bruining, CEO/Founder of StoryTerrace has seen first-hand how thousands of people have positively transformed their mental health by developing a deeper connection with themselves through the memoir-writing process – but this journey doesn’t need to begin with an entire book.
“We can see from the books being written through our service that men appear much less likely to want to discuss their deepest internal struggles,” says Rutger Bruining, Founder of StoryTerrace, discussing the power of writing in supporting positive mental wellbeing. “This won’t come as a surprise to many – the stigma surrounding mental health in general, but particularly for men, has been well documented. However, I find it incredibly inspiring to see on a daily basis at StoryTerrace the amount of people that choose to share their most intimate struggles, often purely with the goal in mind of providing hope for others going through a similar situation.
He adds: “I do think that as a society we are moving in the right direction, and this stigma is gradually being broken down. I also firmly believe that there is power in writing as a cathartic activity – and it doesn’t have to be writing a fully fledged book. Journaling has experienced a well-documented boom over the past few years and has been evidenced to make a real difference for our mental health.”
The beauty of StoryTerrace is that we get the privilege of gaining that extra insight into the lives of people all over the world – embracing and documenting diversity and individuality in its best form,” Bruining also says. “It is easy to forget the minor but significant details which happen to us in our everyday lives. From the wins to the drawbacks, we are all navigating our life story as it plays out.”
StoryTerrace is LGBTQ+-inclusive and commissioned data which found that:
- 48% of LGBTQIA+ people say that writing about their experiences in a creative way has allowed them to understand themselves better
- 43% of LGBTQIA+ people say they are more comfortable writing about their experiences rather than talking about them
- 65% of LGBTQIA+ people say that reading stories they can relate to has a positive impact on their mental health
- 44% of LGBTQIA+ people say they would love to share their experiences so that other people facing the same issues would feel more accepted and understood
- 34% of LGBTQIA+ people feel that journaling has been the most beneficial aid to their mental health to date
- 49% say that a member of the LGBTQIA+ community has often felt lonely because they didn’t hear about people who were going through similar things to themselves
StoryTerrace author Roger Moreau shared his heartfelt story of dealing with divorced parents, standing up for himself, and opening up about being gay. Roger revealed how his journaling experience evolved into the formulation of his life memoir.
He comments: “It means a lot to me to be able to share my story in this way. Having written a manuscript of my life growing up in such a personal way and not being able to find the words to put it together, to now having it written in a way that makes me feel understood is amazing. I was emotionally tied to it and wasn’t sure I could tell my story properly.”
When discussing the representation of non-heterosexual protagonists in the media, Moreau says: “I think we have come a long way. When I was a teenager, seeing a gay character on television was rare. If you did see a gay character, it was mostly portrayed as something negative. It was either the person who was sick and dying from an illness or was a victim of gay-bashing. Today, there is so much acceptance and support – I absolutely love reading LGBTQIA+ memoirs and stories of someone overcoming adversity. It shows that there is hope, and to keep on going, no matter what you are going through in life.”
And dare we suggest that such a powerful service might make the perfect gift for a man you love, especially during Men’s Mental Health Month!
StoryTerrace‘s mission is to ensure that every life story is captured and passed on in a meaningful way. Its award-winning memoir writing service takes care of the whole process – matching clients with one of over 750 professional writers, interviewing, photo gathering, editing, designing, and printing their very own book. Books are on average 100 pages long, meaning that everyone can have their life story – or those of their loved ones – documented in a professionally curated biography or series of memoirs.
Powered by its proprietary technology platform, StoryTerrace continues to scale globally and has sold over 3,500 packages to date since it was founded in 2014. The company was a winner on BBC Dragons’ Den in 2020 and has gained traction in the likes of Sky News, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Forbes, and CBS News.