In a bid to shatter the stereotype that men don't cry, British expats Manny Djornor and Kori Lindsay are shaking things up in Dubai with their mental health platform, Men-tality.
The duo recently took the spotlight in Dubai's Design District where they led a panel discussion called 'Bridging the Pillow Gap,' challenging societal norms and sparking vital conversations about relationships and mental well-being. The event brought together a diverse audience of both men and women, fostering a crucial dialogue on relationships and dating.
Djornor said they want to create an environment where men can engage in authentic, transparent, and unfiltered conversations about the often-overlooked challenges they face.
"Men-tality’s primary aim is to bring the topic of men’s mental health to the forefront and remove the stigma attached to it. Simultaneously, it endeavours to bridge the gap between the sexes."
Women are not only welcome but encouraged to join, listen, share, and participate, with the goal of fostering understanding about the challenges men face and exploring how everyone can contribute to navigating through these experiences together.
Engaging through diverse channels like social media, podcasts, and community events such as workshops and panel discussions, Men-tality is positioned, as its founders emphasise in their YouTube videos, as a space for men to 'evolve into better individuals' within the societies they inhabit.
Kori, a former commercial gym trainer, launched his platform, Perfiit Training, upon arriving in Dubai, empowering individuals to take charge of their fitness and health decisions.
Meanwhile, Manny, hailing from South London, started as a professional footballer before entering the corporate world. Working on Wall Street and for a global tech company, he eventually found himself in the UAE, navigating disaster relief and contemplating a return to football. Struggling with the concept of 'success,' Manny faced a low period. Three years later, a conversation with Kori led to the birth of Men-tality in 2021.
Their debut event in March 2021, aptly titled 'Men Don't Cry,' proved successful. Djornor and Lindsay attribute this success not only to its unconventional nature but also to the fact that they "managed to gather a room full of people who were willing to speak about some of the vulnerable moments they've been through."
Since then, their events have expanded, and the platform has diversified, including a growing database of service providers for those in need, ranging from nutritionists and psychologists to personal trainers.
This unique space plays a crucial role in addressing the often-overlooked issue of men's emotional well-being. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) men are twice as likely to die by suicide as women. In the US, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2021, the suicide rate for men was 3.9 times higher than that of women. Similarly, three-quarters of suicides in England and Wales in 2020 were men, a trend persisting since the 1990s.
Lindsay highlights a crucial question to underscore the disparity: "If someone adheres to the conventional tenets of masculinity—protection and provision—where is the space for you to share your own qualms, your own issues, and bring those to the foreground?"
The impact of the platform extends beyond its users, profoundly affecting the co-founders themselves. Djornor reveals, "In knowing that other people need this, I’ve allowed myself the opportunity to be vulnerable, and we’ve been able to approach so many subjects that the growth in me has been exponential." Lindsay echoes this sentiment, acknowledging, "A big part of Mentality's work is being the role model I needed. A lot of what we do has the therapeutic element of speaking to my former self."
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