History Of Man Up Man Down

Men live, on average, 4.5 years less than women. That number rises to 6 years for Black men. The questions is, “why?” The answer is paradoxically simple – men need to take better care of themselves. Research conducted by Dr. Harold "Woody" Neighbors has found that a major problem is what can be called the “tough guy syndrome.” Too many men have bought into the myth that they must “man up” to all of life’s challenges. As a result, men do not reach out for help when problems arise. They “tough it out.” They “man up” and “handle their business” like “real men.” Or do they?

Dr. Neighbors’ research shows that sometimes “manning up” can result in a man “going down.” Men increase their risk for mental health problems by painting themselves into a corner of social isolation precisely at the time when they need others the most. To fight back against this problem, Dr. Neighbors and his colleagues led a large, multi-city focus group study of adult Black men. This study was designed to get the personal stories behind the health statistics. In addition, Dr. Neighbors and his students participated in numerous community health fairs to recruit men into their “no-nonsense, man-to-man, health dialogue sessions. Based on this research and these dialogue sessions, the Man Up Man Down Program has identified one important pathway to solving the problem of men’s health.