Mental health support for men

Bryan Voliton created ManGrove, an eight-week support program for men designed to provide support and let them know that they are not alone.


CLEARWATER — According to several studies, including the American Psychological Association, the mental health of men, and Black men in particular, is often overlooked and underrated.

Bryan Voliton, an accountability coach, wanted to do something about it, so he started ManGrove, an eight-week support program for men designed to provide support and let them know that they are not alone.

“We give them different tools they can use to manage stress and process emotions,” Voliton said. “They have a place to come to and speak with like-minded people to work through things in their lives.”

The program also encourages mindful movement, such as yoga, to help connect the mind and body, helping participants learn to ground and center their thoughts quickly.

“We also have a creative expression segment,” he revealed. “It’s designed to take what we discuss in session and explore what it looks like outside of themselves. We encourage them to put the ideas on paper, canvas or some creative mode as a way to reflect on everything.”

Voliton got the idea for the program after a client asked him to work with her son.

“He was in his late 20s, and she thought I could help,” he explained. “She mentioned that she thought it would be a good idea for me to start working more with men, and I didn’t disagree with her.”

Voliton started looking internally into what he thought he could offer to help men deal with stress, trauma or emotions they don’t know how to process.

“I started digging down into some of the things I experienced and how I moved on from it,” the 44-year-old said.

He started the program in January and has about four men participating regularly.

Right now, the program focuses on providing an open forum – a way for men to check out the program and feel more comfortable. Once they decide ManGrove is a program they want to participate in, they start with a more classroom or teaching setting.

Voliton said opening up and expressing feelings is definitely something men, especially Black men, struggle with.

“It’s hard for men to do this kind of work,” he asserted. “We don’t often have the vocabulary around expressing ourselves. We have been taught to push everything down, be a man, don’t cry. I know it was difficult for me to ask for help when I was going through times of depression or trauma in my life.”

ManGrove is a program under the Greenwood Grove organization that is dedicated to working as a community collaborator around health and wellness.

To participate in the program, men must be at least 18 years old, but they can be from any ethnic group.

To learn more about ManGrove and get meeting details, follow Greenwood Grove on Facebook or call 727-755-7885.

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