Why Understanding Your Environment Matters to Your Mental Health

To the reader: Please welcome our newest team member, Director of Research & Strategy: David Zarnett PhD. This is the first Journal post by David who will be contributing to our blogs and to the development of our work.

Men’s Mental Health with Donovan from Heart Of A Man | Episode #2


Donovans Bio
I am a survivor of depression, grief over losing my mother and grandmother to cancer. Disappointment, anger, and hopelessness have been constant companions for me throughout my life. I was angry at not being allowed to express my pain and isolated myself from the comfort and love I sought by pushing people away from me.

Growing into my teens, I quickly learned that it was NOT cool for a guy to talk about his emotions, fears, or pain. Real men were tough, strong, fearless and confident. So I worked hard to bury all my negative feelings and hid them under the mask of being the athletic jock who gets the girls, excels at basketball, and looks like he has it all together.


That worked until I was 21 – when the emotional pain refused to stay hidden anymore. I spiraled into a deep depression. Even though I got the professional help I needed, I found myself isolated and alone without a network of support that could relate to the pressure a man faces while trying to overcome depression.

Yet again I was being discouraged by family and society to express my feelings or show any emotion. I was frustrated by the expectation to “man up” and hold my feelings inside, and I came to understand how harmful these expectations are to men’s mental health.

My pain and frustration turned into a passion for wanting to do something that would enable men to support each other while finding the root cause of dealing with life and mental health issues. Heart Of A Man (HOAM) was started to achieve this purpose by providing an emotionally safe place for men to express their vulnerability, feel inspired, overcome the pain and discover purpose in life.