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Men reportedly aren’t addressing their mental health. A Utah collective wants to change that

By Curtis Booker - | May 20, 2024

Courtesy Counterfeit Emotions

Curtis Morley and John Moore speak to a crowd of men during the Mastering the Masculine Mind event at Ready Gunner in Orem on May 9, 2024.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and for men the struggle of navigating the challenges can be one that is silent.

Providing a space where men can open their hearts and connect is something Curtis Morley of Highland knew was important, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morley is the CEO of Counterfeit Emotions, which is built around the principles of differentiating between “counterfeit and authentic” emotions such as guilt vs. shame and pain vs. misery. The entrepreneur and author created an online series diving into the masculine mindset.

“There’s so much negativity around masculinity. But masculinity is important. It’s critical in today’s world, especially in today’s world,” Morley told the Daily Herald. “And so rather than tapping into any type of toxic masculinity, its more about tapping into the divine masculinity. The masculinity that is part of our human nature that not only supports the feminine in our lives but also supports ourselves and then gets into that good headspace.”

Morley’s forthcoming book delves more into helping people live in authenticity. A catalyst for breaking free from “counterfeit emotions” came during a traumatic time in his own life after one of his closest friends took their own life. He described his late friend Jerry Williamson as “a truly good man who didn’t have the tools to combat the trials life throw at each of us,” Morley says on his website.

In realizing the need to present more resources for men battling mental health challenges, Morley connected with a group of others for a series of events designed for men seeking a deeper understanding of their authentic selves.

Heare Brotherhood is a social wellness platform and community for men with a focus of furthering the conversation surrounding men’s mental health. Founded by John Moore, Justin Brey and Micheal Allen, the brand launched in May of last year with a kickoff party at Vivian Park in Provo. Since then, they’ve hosted dozens of in-person and virtual events and developed a mobile app to connect with men across the globe.

Morley along with Heare Brotherhood and Shawn Finnegan, owner of Tax Hive in Orem, collaboratively have hosted two events so far this year called Mastering the Masculine Mind. The most recent seminar happened last Thursday at Ready Gunner in Orem, where dozens of man gathered to engage in discussions and shared experiences about masculinity, developing deeper connections and learning how to embrace healing.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the the link between suicide and mental health disorders is more likely among men. Data from the Priory Group indicates that 40% of men won’t discuss their mental health with anyone, with the majority of stressors related to work, finances and their health.

Prior to launching Heare Brotherhood, Allen had originally begun organizing small retreats for men as a way to seek a deeper connection within himself and other men. “I just felt like a lot of us go through life just at the surface level — just getting getting the work done, paying the bills. And we don’t take those opportunities to connect more deeply and we start to feel the pain of that, especially after long periods of time,” he said.

Allen added that creating spaces for other men to open up requires vulnerability. “It requires us facing some hard things that maybe we’ve been avoiding or suppressing,” he said.

Morley feels that isolation during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic only perpetuated mental health struggles, and in helping men feel comfortable in sharing their challenges helps exit out of dark place. “This is a place to let people know it’s safe to feel again,” he said.

The collective plans to hold more events in the future. In the meantime, Heare Brotherhood hosts a weekly podcast. Morley’s Counterfeit Emotions offers a variety of resources for men who want to prioritize their mental health.


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