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“No one is free until we are all free.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

MISSION

Changing the face of what it means to be man.

HUMEN is leading the movement to improve men's mental health. We share stories via face-to-face exchanges in The HUMEN Space: the Gym For the Mind and through the power of film, to reestablish human connection one story at a time.

We’re pushing for a world where all you’re defined by is your humanity. Moving beyond the false and limiting notions of what it means to be a man, or a lad, or a bloke.

Where inner health is valued as much as outer, creating a better world for men and women.

Where everybody’s voice counts, and has a chance to be heard.

We’re lighting a better way forward, and together can change the course of a generation.

You are human. I am human. We are HUMEN.

My Story

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” — Abraham Maslow

Until recently, anger was the answer to all my problems. When I was younger, the only tool I thought I had was a hammer. Quickly, without meaning or wanting to, I trashed everything in front of me.

I arrived at a lonely place, where I felt like I didn’t want to live but at the same time I didn’t want to die. Because it just isn’t in my blood to give up.

I tried everything to shake the emptiness. I abused myself, found destructive ways to cope, because I didn't know any other way. Most days felt like an exercise in survival. I took the anger out on myself, and did a pretty good job of beating myself up but also did a great job of pretending life was fine.

It was only when, by chance, I encountered other people speaking honestly, sharing familiar stories, that I realised I wasn’t alone in these feelings of anxiety about life – that there is another path.

Listening gave me respite from my anguish. Sharing was cathartic, a release from a conveyor belt of anxiety going round in my head. I realised I was not the problem, we are not the problem – being a man is not the problem. Only these limiting scripts, prescribing what it means to be a man, which damage men and belittle women, are a problem.

From as young as age six, boys trade our innate empathy and compassion for phoney toughness. As the years pass, our social vocabulary, our emotional toolkit, is often reduced to but one choice. The hammer.

I was in two minds about creating HUMEN because even though I strongly believe vulnerability is a strength, I felt like telling people my story and about my struggle would make me appear to be less capable. But that just reaffirmed why HUMEN needs to be in the world. I founded HUMEN to provide as many boys and men as possible with a better way. HUMEN is what I wish had existed years ago. If we challenge this false conditioning, we open ourselves to endless possibilities - for men, for women, for society to thrive.

River Hawkins, Founder