Hey Luca, so let’s kick this off. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hey Sarah, sure thing. So, I’m 25 years old and I work with Joe Wicks at The Body Coach as a part of his social media team. I’ve always been very sporty and my passion for fitness grew at 17 as it became a place I could switch off and relieve stress, whilst challenging myself physically.
So sports and training has been helpful to you when it comes to managing stress. What other things have you found helpful?
I’m also a big music fan so I listen to music a lot if I need to manage my stress. As well as that, I also enjoy creative writing which I’ve found really cathartic. Although all those things can be quite isolating, as an only child it’s always been where I’ve felt most comfortable.
I see you went to the event run by Mentality last night, can you explain a little more about this?
Absolutely. I’m an ambassador for an Instagram-based community called Mentality which looks to provide men with a safe, non-judgmental space to be open about troubles they have in their life. The event I was at was a Father’s Day special and covered relationships that we have as son’s and father’s and how to manage both relationships. I think it’s so important to provide those open platforms for people to be honest about what troubles them.
That sounds like a really positive community to be a part of. I follow some great social accounts run by men who are open and honest about their challenges however, in ‘real life’ I have found females to be slightly more open/comfortable when it comes to talking about their mental health than males (this is only generally speaking). What’s your experience been?
I definitely agree with that. I’ve been lucky to have one or two friends since I went to university that I’m open with and talk about what gets me down, but it’s really rare for men to have that without being judged as ‘over-sensitive’ or ‘soft’. I went to an all-boys school growing up and I never felt comfortable confiding in anyone and one reason why was because I felt like it made me less masculine to admit that I was upset. It’s something I struggle with to this day.
I get the feeling that’s quite a common experience for guys which is a real shame. What kind of things do you think might help to change this perception?
I think the short-term solutions could be providing young men in business and adult education with access health care professionals such as Counselors and even Life Coaches in relation to their pay structure. If we can provide men the option to turn to someone whilst limiting the challenges to do so, we could help decrease the stigma of therapy whilst addressing people’s mental well-being at the same time.
The long-term solution that I believe could impact generations to come is to provide more incentives and easier access for male teacher training, especially at the primary school level. I didn’t have a male teacher until I was 12 years old and I think especially in my case as a boy being raised in a single parent household without my dad, a male role model that I could learn from for the majority of my week could’ve helped my ability to be open and more trusting of men later in life.
You can also make the case that men who are open and use their platform to address mental health aren’t publicised within our own gender as widely as some of the amazing women in this world who are taking on that challenge, so it’s on us as a gender to actively participate and celebrate men who look to help others through their own stories as well.
There’s definitely some things I’ve not thought about before. When it comes to children/young adults, I guess it’s about ensuring that the future male generation know it’s okay to be open and vulnerable. These people will be the dads of the future at the end of the day! What would you say to your younger self if you had the chance today?
You’re absolutely right on that! The future generation are in our hands and I believe we’re heading in a good place with regards to mental health awareness.
That’s a great question. I think I would tell myself to have faith in who I am and not to let what people would say about my sensitivity upset me. It was common for guys at my school to call me ‘soft’ or ‘weak’ (They used more colourful language then that) and if I had known that same set of personality traits was going to push me towards a career path in the future, then I probably would’ve brushed it off more rather than pretending that it wasn’t who I was.
I would also tell myself to have faith that if you continue to live your life with positive, pure intentions for those around then this world will steer you where you need to be. I doubt a young me would take that on board, but it would be worth a try!
Very wise words! So what’s next for you Luca? I know you just smashed a recent challenge of 100 spinning classes at DigmeFitness in 100 days which is amazing. Any more challenges or projects in the pipe line?
I did indeed (Survived may be more accurate over smashed!). At the moment I don’t have anything planned for a specific time, but as you must know with creative processes some ideas come to you very randomly. Even with that 100 classes in 100 days challenge, I didn’t decide to do it until about 12 classes in.
I’m going to continue to try and find ways to help others the best way I can. Our society is very content driven, so having the opportunity to work with other people like yourself on providing content is definitely a goal of mine in 2018 whilst continuing to figure out my own platform at the same time. My life’s definitely a work in progress.
Well it’s great that you’re making it your mission to help others. That’s a worthwhile work in progress for sure.
Thank you Luca. Wishing you all the success!
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Presenting opportunities for men to stay open and connected through conversations, media and events