Mental Health and Gender Roles: An Interview with Conor Yarbrough

By Brittany Robinson
Station Manager


For the last 15 years, countries all over the world have been celebrating International Men’s Day (IMD). With over 70 countries celebrating the annual event, the objective of IMD is more than just a celebration of men. It’s a day to highlight men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality and more. At its root. it’s a day to promote humanitarian values.

With suicide rates being 3.5 times higher in men than women, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and an average of six million men suffering from depression in the United States, evaluating men’s mental health is more important now than ever. I talked to Conor Yarbrough, KTSW’s news director, about his feelings on the issue.

Photo by Tafari Robertson.
Photo by Tafari Robertson.

“You can be, physically, in solid shape, but if spiritually, mentally and emotionally, that isn’t with your physical state, you aren’t truly healthy,” Yarbrough said. “Those are all as important to your men’s health as your physical being.” 

Just recently, he heard his colleagues discussing the pressures of masculinity. Among them was an agreement that, “You’re expected to be the breadwinner of the family, and be a strong guy who doesn’t bow down. You’re practically expected to be impervious,” Yarbrough said. “That puts a lot of pressure on men to do some things. We are not the perfect people we put ourselves out to be. It’s sad that showing that other side may show weakness.”

Yarbrough acknowledges that both men and women struggle with gender roles and how limiting they are, admitting things are better than decades prior. Things do seem to be up in the air to Yarbough due to recent events, such as the presidential election win of Donald Trump.

“I hope we are moving in the right direction,” Yarborough said. “One can only keep their fingers cross.”

Tune into KTSW 89.9 from midnight to midnight for the 24-hour Brocast for International Men’s Day.

Featured image by Tafari Robertson.

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