UCSD’s New Mental Health Initiative Is ‘Queering the Male Loneliness Binary’

Written by: Sylvia Terry

“I don’t even need to take this class,” said one workshop attendee. “I just treat every woman like my mother.”
Photo by Madeline Mozafari

Amid the recent rise in awareness of adolescent loneliness and its effect on vulnerable members of UC San Diego’s student body, the university has announced a new measure to bring help to those most in need of support. “When we thought about how loneliness was affecting our poor, noble men, it struck a chord that inspired us in a way that other groups have really failed to achieve,” said CAPS administrator Mr. A. “We just felt moved by these young men’s plight and how they’ve been trapped under the thumb of the patriarchy — we knew we had to do something, since nobody else has stood up for them.”

This new program is tailored to meet the emotional needs of men, a demo­graphic “tra­ditionally underserved by psych­iatry.” It aims to provide men with the tools and opportunities needed to “overcome overbearing soci­etal pressure” and “try speaking to other men.” This sweeping endeavor includes a series of seminars titled “Feelings: A Normal Experience,” a pamphlet to help loved ones interpret the emotions encoded in the tone and timbre of drywall-­punching, and a partner program that pairs men with each other in romantic relationships to mut­ually develop their emotional intelligence, among other services.

At the time of publication, the program will have held a series of promotional events highlighting the resources being made accessible to men. These begin with distributing “handy and colorful guides” on what constitutes an emotion, followed by the production of the one-act play Expression, Emotion, & Carly Rae Jepsen, which is about the “variety of people who aren’t your girlfriend that you can express
emotions to.”

Though highly anticipated since its early development, the program has received its fair share of detractors. One such student, Arya Ceres, had the following to say in her viral Instagram post: “What!? Men have never stopped piling their emotions on me, even when it’s not appropriate. Especially when it isn’t! Who is this for!?”

In response to this unexpected outcry, CAPS has broadened the scope of the project to include those who aren’t explicitly men. Their plans to realize a wider audience currently include easy access to testosterone cypionate, tack-on mustaches, a pack of Marlboro Reds, and a copy of the DSM-5 with a Post-it Note reading “figure it out” tacked to the front. Despite commitments to inclusivity from CAPS, these changes have yet to be comprehensively implemented within this initiative. Many services still require non-male students to wear masks of Kelsey Grammer in order to access campus resources.

Further still, F. Shi, the director of the new partner program, has vehemently opposed offering anything other than male-male pairings, citing the “sanctity of male on male interaction.” When asked for comment on the strict lines of masculinity that this initiative has yet to branch out from, Mr. A said, “We are a team held together by our deep and abiding passion for ensuring that the best mental health care possible is made available to the lonely men on our campus. We want to accommodate this shift away from shepherding our men, but for the health of this project, it is important that we don’t lose sight of who we really care about.”

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