Men’s Mental Health

Self-Worth: Finding Strength Through Vulnerability, with Brian Cardoza

June is self-worth month here on the podcast. We started off talking with the UK’s leading confidence coach and transformational mentor, Amy Rushworth, as she shared some of her story and talked about how finding your voice is in direct relation to self-confidence and developing your self-worth. After that, we shared some thoughts on how you are the one that gets to define who you are, and what you’re about; your worth is not dependent on anyone or anything. So if you haven’t checked out those two episodes you’ll want to go back after this one and give em a listen.

Self-Worth - Finding Strength Through VulnerabilityContinuing on with the self-worth theme, we’re talking with returning guest and friend, Brian Cardoza. Brian is an author, artist, and national speaker, using his platform to help share the message of his survivor story and encourage both men and women to take that first step of seeking help to work through a traumatic past.

Brian’s message of hope, presented in such an authentic, genuine, and down-to-earth way, is inspiring because he’s able to relate to the unique struggles that survivors go through, including the silence and shame that keeps them stuck and feeling unable to reach out for help.

We talk with Brian about his survivor story and get into a deep discussion about the struggles of survivors who are trying to find their voice and reach out for help. Throughout our chat, with Brian, you’ll notice how we use some well-timed, and improvisational humor to help illustrate that while this work is deep, powerful, difficult, and necessary, there is hope in healing and all of that work hard pays off.

Plus, near the end of the podcast, in true Brian Cardoza form, he drops a nugget of wisdom that will result in a future episode on the topic of bringing awareness to “coercive rape” and the pressure that both men and women feel when it comes to intimacy. Believe me, friend, this one will definitely cause you to pause and ponder his take on this delicate subject. 

It’s always a wonderful time as we chat with our friend Brian Cardoza, and be sure to find him on Facebook and check him out when he hosts an event in your area. As Brian says, “just put my name in the google machine and you’ll find me”. Oh, and don’t forget to check out his book, “The Unexpected Victim” available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you enjoy these podcasts would you consider doing 3 easy things for us?

  1. Share it with one person who might find it helpful.
  2. Leave a review on your favorite podcasting app.
  3. Follow the podcast on that same app, so you never miss an episode.

That’s it…Super Easy and it would mean the world to us.

If you want to go a step further, we have a special Thank You just for You!






All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above-mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Mental Health Megacast – 3 Guys Talking about Advocacy and Recovery. – Ep. 110

Welcome back to the Mental Health Megacast, a semi-regular round table discussion with 3 mental health advocates, podcasters, and survivors of circumstances we’d rather forget, who are trying to find our way through life and make a difference.

Officially, this is Season 2, Ep. 4 – but our numbering system isn’t an exact science since this is actually episode 110 of my podcast, while it’s also something different for Wes and Mike’s shows. Anyways…we’re just stoked for each opportunity to come together for an hour and chat about what’s been going on in our lives; the struggles, the challenges, the wins and progress, and everything in between.

Anyways, just in case you aren’t familiar with the Megacasts, you can check out past episodes here, and also my cohorts platforms as well….

To that end, the Megacast is creation of the collaborative brain powers (more or less) of Wes from and Mike from, and myself.  I encourage you to check out and follow them online and through your favorite podcasting platform. Each of these has a tremendous message to share and an inspiring and unique way in how they go about it.

In this episode, Mikes Open Journal - Mental Health Megacastafter the usual cheers because we all got signed on at the same time (yes that’s a thing we do and celebrate it because the struggle is real with us 3 and time) we begin the focus of this Megacast episode:


  • How things have changed for each of us over the last year, and how our lives have changed in terms of sharing our story and our advocacy work from the time we started, till now.
  • Witnessing the evolution in each of our lives as we have changed over the last couple of years since we began this podcast collaboration.
  • How the awareness of mental health has changed over the years, the availability of resources and help in the US and UK, and the ongoing struggle to speak up and ask for help.
  • Struggles with anxiety and depression, and realizing that finding tools to help combat the those feelings is not a “one size fits all” approach; not everything works for every person, and if a particular skill does not work for you, it doesn’t mean anything other than we just find a skill or skills that do work for us. We also share some of the skills that we all use in working through anxiety.
  • Living life in the moment, and using mindfulness and perspective to help in recovery.
  • and much more!

We hope you enjoy this latest episode, and yes if you do have suggestions for future shows, we are still taking them. 😉 One of the best things about these episodes is that that they are completely unedited, unscripted, just us hanging out and having a chat, and you are invited.

Be sure and follow Wes on Twitter @WesA1966 and Mike @Mike_Douglas_ & Open_Journal_  …oh and don’t forget to follow and subscribe to all of our shows on your favorite podcasting app!

-Matt Pappas, CLC, MPNLP









All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 90 – Depression and Men’s Mental Health, with Al Levin, “It’s OK to not be OK”.

As fate would have it, divine intervention, or just total coincidence (not that I believe in coincidences), recently on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, I’ve been talking with guests surrounding the area of men’s mental health. Being a guy myself, it’s not like I haven’t covered this topic before on the show, however given recent events politically and socially, I’m glad that these recent episodes are helping to shine light on the male side of mental health and being a survivor of trauma. We are truly all in this together, regardless of gender, and the more we continue to bring this out into the open, the more we chip away at the stigma and shame of reaching out for help.

In episode 89, I talked with Andrea Schneider LCSW about overcoming shame, feeling alienated in regards to the #metoo movement, and reaching out for professional help as a male survivor of trauma.  You can click here to check out that episode, or listen on your favorite podcasting app. 

al levin - the depression files podcast - guest on beyond your past podcastMy guest here on episode 90, fellow podcaster, advocate for men’s mental health, and friend Al Levin.

“I’m an assistant principal in a public elementary school.  I’ve been in education for nearly twenty years.  I’m married and have four children. I’ve recently completed all of the coursework in working towards a Co-Active coaching certificate through the Coaches Training Institute.  The coaching work has allowed me to support the staff I work with in the public schools, as well as others who are seeking support in reaching their goals or working past challenging times in their lives.

I am also a person who has recovered from a major depressive disorder, an illness that was quite debilitating for nearly six months of my life.  Through this experience, I have become very passionate about learning more about mental health and supporting others with a mental illness, particularly men with depression. In addition to this blog, I speak publicly for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and I tweet @allevin18.”

Al’s podcast, The Depression Files, and his advocacy work focuses primarily on men’s mental health and specifically with depression, along with encouraging men to open up and seek help when their depression reaches a level where thoughts of suicide begin to surface. Al Levin himself was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and knows first hand what’s like to wake up in the middle of night contemplating ways to take his life, feeling like a burden on his family and society, and living life completely consumed by depression.

His website, also outlines more of his story of “how everything seemed to be going well, yet everything seemed to come crashing down.”  Which is precisely the topic of our conversation on the podcast. I wanted to chat with Al because his story is one that so many men and women today can relate too. A guy who’s life was seemingly humming along; good job, hard work paying off with a new promotion, loving wife and family, good friends, yet something lurking in the background and beginning to surface that he didn’t expect.

During the podcast you’ll learn how:

  • In 2010, Al received the promotion he had been working so hard towards, but once he took on the new responsibilities, everything began to change and his was slowly but surely being turned upside down. The stresses of late hours, budget constraints, managing staff, and oversized classes began to take its toll. He was running on adrenaline more often than not, not sleeping well or eating properly,  and not communicating with his wife, family, and friends.
  • How those events translated into seeking help from his family doctor and starting on medications to help with a new diagnosis of depression.
  • As things began to continue spiraling down, affecting his job, family, and friendships, thoughts of suicide began to surface.
  • How waking up in the middle of the night after dreaming of ways to take his own life, prompted him to talk with his wife and family and seek the help of a mental health professional.
  • Along with Al’s story, which he shares much more in-depth on the podcast, we discuss:
    • The shame that men face in asking for help.
    • How anxiety and depression can go hand in hand
    • Asking a safe person to help advocate for you when seeking help
    • How thoughts of suicide and those who unfortunately take their own life, is not an act of selfishness but rather is often feeling of being a burden on their family and society.

We cover all of this and more on the podcast, as Al uses his voice and life experiences to help inspire everyone who lives with depression, thoughts of suicide or any mental health struggle to not be ashamed or embarrassed about asking for help.

Thank you again Al for joining me today, your message is so important, now more than ever.

You can follow Al on Twitter: @allevin18 , his website , and his podcast on iTunes and Podbean

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP


All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 89 – Men’s Mental Health, #MeToo, and Overcoming Shame, with Andrea Schneider LCSW

For all of the progress that has been made in recent years in the area of men’s mental health, it’s still a subject that can yield a variety of responses based on not only who you talk too, but also the current social media and political climate as well.

I can remember back when I was I was in school, (and no the 1980’s weren’t all THAT long ago) the subject of mental health in general was not something you heard much about, and even less in the area of men’s mental health. We didn’t have bullying prevention rally’s in school, sex education was a 1 semester class in your senior year, and intro to psychology was class you took to study the reactions of other classmates when you asked them certain types of questions.

Nowadays, mental health is all over social media, commercials on TV and radio, there are podcasts devoted to all aspects of it *hint hint*, incredible advocacy groups who share knowledge and help inspire change,  and overall the exposure that this previously ignored and taboo topic is getting is encouraging.

So why is it then, that for all of the positive movement, there are still so many that feel ashamed to talk about it with a doctor or therapist, much less discuss it around the campfire or weekend cookout?

My point is, to reiterate that while we have come a long way, there is still so much work to be done. So much stigma and shame to expose in the area of men’s mental health.  I feel it’s important to mention that I am by no means minimizing the important of mental health in women, but for the purposes of this podcast with Andrea Schneider, we’ll focus more on the male challenges.

Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in San Dimas, CA. She received her MSW from University of Michigan (the top ranked social work program in the country) and her B.A. in Psychology from UCLA (#2 in the country). 

During her 20+ year career, Andrea has counseled thousands of individuals and families covering a broad range of issues and challenges, developing specialties in maternal wellness, narcissistic abuse recovery, special needs parenting, and  grief/loss.  Andrea is EMDR trained, a modality which helps clients dealing with a wide range of concerns in trauma recovery, including PTSD, complex-PTSD, relational trauma, depression, anxiety, grief and loss.

She also has experience in helping children and families deal with loss and trauma issues. Not only is she trained in EMDR, but during her Master’s program, Andrea interned at a hospice agency and trained under an art/play therapy program. She uses art intervention in her treatment with both children and adults, and has a Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy Credential from the Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute. 

Andrea is also a fellow podcaster on the Mental Health News Radio Network, where you can find her show, The Savvy Shrink.

During our chat on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, we discuss some areas surrounding men’s mental health including:

  • The man card, and tough guy image that follows males regardless of background
  • Building the trauma language, emotional language, and confidence in opening up to others
  • How men are getting more confident in reaching out, yet still feel ashamed and self-conscious
  • How much political climate and social media affect our confidence in talking about mental health, and how much we share.
  • Bullying and mental health, and the changes from decades ago and now in 2018.
  • Men and the #MeToo movement, including the feelings of alienation that are present even with all of the exposure.

Andrea Schneider and I dive more into each of those topics and hopefully shed some light on not only men’s mental health, but the importance of reaching out for help regardless of gender. Everyone deserves to be heard, validated, and appreciated for who they are and what they’ve been through.

Please be sure and check out , and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

If you haven’t done so, please consider subscribing to Beyond Your Past on your favorite podcasting app and sharing it on social media!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP








All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.