Recognize the Signs, Break the Stigma: Today is World Mental Health Day

(Getty/MartinPrescott)

Over the past few decades, doctors, researchers and moms alike have all shed a light on a once darkened corner of the parental experience. Postpartum depression (PPD), an often debilitating condition that impacts at least 10 to 20 percent of new mothers, has slowly begun to move from the shadows and into common conversations in doctor’s offices and even on personal blogs.

Not to be confused with “baby blues”, a much more common occurrence marked by mood swings or feelings of depression caused by mostly hormonal changes immediately after child birth, PPD persists for weeks or months on end, mirroring symptoms of serious clinical depression.

Postpartum depression is not a weakness, but instead an unfortunate complication of childbirth that with prompt treatment and support, can typically be managed. While the actual causes are still unclear, research suggests several factors are at play, including hormonal changes, situational risks and life stresses in general.

While most of the attention has justifiably been on mothers, data shows that up to 10% of fathers also struggle with symptoms of PPD. That number jumps as high as 50% when their partner is also experiencing PPD. Although men often try to live up to cultural expectations of unwavering emotional strength, a wealth of research now confirms that even dads may need a little support during what can be one of the biggest life changes any person can experience.

That research, along with his personal experiences, is what led Mark Williams to help found International Fathers Mental Health Day. The initiative is centered around a whole-family approach with hopes to raise awareness and ensure all parents have the resources they need when they need them.

In 2004, Williams experienced severe depression and suffered in silence for years until eventually having a breakdown. In a post he wrote about the experience, Williams shared how patriarchal stereotypes and societal stigmas kept him from seeking help for far too long. “I hated feeling the way I did and didn’t feel like a man. Wasn’t I supposed to be the strong one?”

His wife Michelle was experiencing PPD at the same time but eventually was able to get the support she needed. Mark, however, internalized most of his emotions and instead withdrew from his loved ones, making it harder for anyone to recognize his cries for help. “I’ve learned that postpartum depression and anxiety can look very different in fathers. For me, I acted totally out of character and wanted to avoid family members. I drank more to cope and was not feeling the overwhelming paternal love that society was telling me I should, ” Mark wrote, adding “ I didn’t think men could have postnatal depression and felt I had to “man up” because all I wanted was for my wife to be happy.”

While his story is all too common, resources and visibility surrounding men’s mental health are few and far between. Dr. Andrew Mayers is one of several medical professionals attempting to break the stigmas surrounding PPD in both men and women.

“We are running three studies at Bournemouth University currently: one focusing on asking dads how the support they got (and need) when dealing with their wife/partner’s (perinatal) mental illness; the second examining support fathers need for their own mental health; while the third focuses on birth trauma.”

According to the site MakeBirthBetter.org, around 20-45% of women perceive their childbirth as traumatic. An otherwise ‘normal’ birth may be perceived as traumatic due to things such as “loss of control, perceived threat or physical harm to self or baby, or negative attitudes of healthcare professionals involved in the birth.” Now imagine like many fathers these days, you’re in the delivery room watching as your partner suffers, feeling helpless and often ignored by medical professionals.

Pediatrician Dr. David Levine had his own personal experience with PPD which took the Yale-educated doctor to a very dark place.

While efforts are underway encouraging men to reach out, there is still a long way to go before many will feel comfortable seeking help or even discussing potential issues with their doctor or partner. For Mark Williams, it’s all about encouraging others not to wait. “I have been at my lowest ebb and have come out the other side. The best advice I can give you all is that the quicker you get the help, the quicker the recovery.”

If you think you or a loved one may be experiencing signs of mental illness, visit www.mhascreening.org to take a free, quick and confidential screen for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, and/or Alcohol or Substance Use Problems.

For more information surrounding mental health in dads, visit Dr. Mayers resources page as well as the Fathers page on Postpartum Support International’s site. In addition, here’s a quick infographic on men’s mental health in America:

Heartwarming Doritos Ad From Mexico Features Son Coming Out To Father

Doritos Mexico's heartwarming ad
(YouTube/Doritos)

Name one TV commercial you remember, and I’ll bet you had an emotional reaction the first time you viewed it — whether it made you laugh, smile, cry, or all three.

It’s no secret that some of the most memorable advertising somehow pulls at your heartstrings. Case in point: the Budweiser Clydesdales, the Apple iPad widower, or the Mac Daddy of them all, the Sarah McLachlan SPCA ads (you’re welcome for that earworm btw).

However, there’s a new player on the list of corporate emotional manipulators, and it’s one you may not expect: Doritos.

Over the holidays, Doritos Mexico launched a commercial that’s since made waves for all the right reasons, especially in the LGBTQ+ community.

It features a divorced father with a college-age son who brought a friend home for the holidays. However, he soon suspects his son and the male companion “are a couple and they do not dare tell me,” so he goes to Reddit for advice on how to break the news gently that he knows… and, more importantly, that his love is unconditional.

The ad — which is based on a true story — ends with a simple, subtly sweet exchange between father & son… followed by the viewer’s own visceral ugly-crying (or maybe that’s just me?).

With everything going on in the world today, it’s the virtual, inclusive embrace we all need right now, albeit from an unexpected source. (Then again, as the saying goes, “If you can’t get a warm, bosomy grandma hug, fill the spiritual abyss with a chips commercial!”)

Here’s hoping it makes its way to U.S. airwaves soon.

Watch the full Doritos Mexico ad (in Spanish with English subtitles) below.

Kevin Smith Thinks HBO Max May Revive Batman: The Animated Series

Batman: The Animated Series Returns
(Warner/DC)

Say what you want about DC’s handling of Superman, the Justice League, and their movies in general, they’ve never once wavered from their commitment to Batman. Barely a year goes by without Batman making news one way or another, and this year is no different.

There’s a new movie in the works with a new take on the character, a new cut of Justice League fans are hoping fixes the last version, the return of several former actors reprising their roles in the eventual Flash flick, a new comic series featuring a black Batman, a new HBO Max show set in his universe and now a new cartoon as well, picking up where the beloved Batman: The Animated Series left off.

On their Fatman Beyond podcast, legendary geek/director and the man behind the He-Man revival recently set the batcorners of the internet aflame when he discussed a rumor the HBO Max is developing a follow-up to the legendary Batman animated show from the 90s.

“The rumor is that HBO Max is looking at making a Batman: The Animated Series sequel, that they want to continue that forward,” Bernardin said before his co-host began gushing.

“I’m not involved, but I too have heard this and I’ve heard this from very reliable people,” Smith said. “When I heard it I freaked out, and I heard this…I would say a month before you just said it. I think that’s real, I don’t think that’s a rumor, I wouldn’t say ‘Set your watch to it,’ but it’s an idea whose time is not only coming, I think it came, and it’s smoking a cigarette. I think that’s gonna happen. How fucking amazing would that be because you can just literally pick up and keep going. It’s not like, oh we gotta explain why everyone’s older, it’s fucking animation man so you can go right back to those amazing fucking stories.”

Batman: The Animated Series originally ran from 1992-1995 and features what some fans consider to be the definitive versions of both Batman (as voiced by Kevin Conroy) and The Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill). The cartoon also introduced Harley Quinn, who has since skyrocketed to become one of DC’s most popular characters (and who has her own show on HBO Max).

The rumor that a new version of Batman: TAS might be coming has fans rejoicing for yet another take on the Dark Knight. Check out Smith and Bernadin’s glee at discussing the rumors:

 

Liam Neeson May Play Frank Drebin in New Naked Gun Movie

Liam Neeson Naked Gun
(20th Century Fox)

With all the remakes and reboots of classics that continue to be in development, there is one genre that never really seems to get recycled, and that’s comedies.

There have been a few attempts, like the Ed Helms version of Vacation, and a reboot of Fletch, coincidentally another Chevy Chase series, is currently in the works, with Jon Hamm (but it will adhere more closely to the series of novels than the movies). And now another classic comedy that, coincidentally, also once had Ed Helms attached may be coming soon: The Naked Gun.

The Ed Helms casting never made sense to me, because one of the things that made Naked Gun work was the fact that Leslie Nielsen wasn’t known as a comic actor, aside from his hilarious performance in Airplane!, which was also a Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker joint.

Thankfully, there’s a new name being bandied about, and he’s far from a comedian, despite how hilarious The Phantom Menace is: Liam Neeson.

Yes, I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.

Neeson revealed that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, with whom the Taken star has collaborated on A Million Ways to Die in the West, Ted 2, and several of his TV shows, has approached him to headline the Naked Gun reboot.

“I’ve been approached by Seth MacFarlane and Paramount Studios to maybe resurrect the Naked Gun films,” Neeson said while talking to People about his latest action movie, The Marksmen.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this idea. McFarlane himself floated Neeson as a comedy star once before.

“Generally with dramatic actors they do kinda like the idea of coming in and doing a comedy to show they can do comedy,” McFarlane said back in 2015. “Liam is great with comedy. I don’t know whether you’ve ever seen his Ricky Gervais sketch? Liam is awesome.”

He even expressed his desire to relaunch the Naked Gun with the tall Irishman.

“My dream at some point would be to do an entire movie with Liam where he does a Leslie Nielson Naked Gun kinda thing. Because he’s so good at playing against the comedy and therefore he’s hilarious. He just really knows what he’s doing.”

This is all just chatter for now, but if they do end up remaking the Naked Gun, Neeson strikes me as a great choice for Lt. Frank Drebin.

Father Figures: Tired

“My husband is the best dad in the world, but even great dads get tired!”

– Sidney Gregory

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

“I’m Sending You Strength,” Ryan Reynolds Reaches Out to Fan Battling Cancer

Ryan Reynolds Video
(Twitter/CadenFanshaw)

Having a kid forced to fight cancer seems like one of the cruelest things a family can face, so anything that can bring a smile to the kid’s face must feel like gold. Ryan Reynolds came through in a big way for a young fan in that situation, sending a video message to an 11-year-old boy with Hodgkins Lymphoma and Crohn’s disease.

Ryan Reynolds is a class act, and exhibit A in how to act if you’re a movie star. Whether it’s helping a lonely kid on his birthday or sending love to a sick kid, Reynolds is there (along with the many hilarious things he does as well).

In this case, the boy’s mom had recently shared on social media that they were having a hard time, but watching the Deadpool movies was one of the things getting them through. So Reynolds sent a personal message of hope to the kid.

“Brody, it’s Ryan Reynolds, I just heard a little bit about your story and I wanted to send you this video and let you know that I’m thinking about you and I’m sending you tons of love and I’m sending you strength, whatever strength I’ve got.”

He closed the message with praise for the boy and expressing his hope they can meet in person someday.

“Man, you have a ton of people in your life that love you so much. I know you’ve been going through it, I know it’s been a challenge, but you’re just the man for the job Brody. So I’m sending you lots of love. I hope I get to meet you in person one of these days.”

His mom was over the moon, telling a Canadian news outlet that her son’s jaw hit the floor when he saw the video and kept saying “I feel like I’m the movie star.” She said when they are having a hard day, they love watching Deadpool to cheer up and that they’ve been watching the clip nonstop since he sent it. They had put the call out earlier in the week, after a hard week of chemo.

Ryan Reynolds, coming through, yet again. You can almost set your watch to how awesome Reynolds is on a daily basis.

UK Man Spent Over $400 To Learn That His Dog Was Limping Out of Sympathy

Man pays for vet visit only to learn his dog copied his limp out of sympathy
(Facebook/Russell Jones)

Dogs are wildly intelligent, but sometimes, they’re too smart for their own good. A video of Russell Jones and his sweet dog Bill has recently gone massively viral, and at first glance, it looks like the pair has seen better days. Both Jones and Bill limp slowly to their front door, Jones on crutches and Bill holding up his front paw as he hobbles alongside him.

Jones and Bill weren’t in some sort of accident. In fact, according to Bill’s vet, nothing is actually wrong. The video has been shared on Facebook over 28,000 times and has popped up on every imaginable social media site in the four days since it was posted by Russell.

“Cost me £300 in vet fees and X-rays, nothing wrong just sympathy. Love him,” Jones captioned the video.


According to Bill’s vet, a slew of tests revealed that there was nothing physically wrong with the empathetic pup. Presumably, Bill saw his human limping, and copied his behavior. While some animal behavior experts claim that limping out of sympathy is unlikely and more tests are needed, others have pointed to studies that do in fact show that dogs imitate the behavior of their pack leaders. In this case, Bill’s pack leader happens to be a human with a limp.

Fortunately, for everyone concerned, the video is something Jones has been holding onto for months. His ankle was broken in June, and he shared an updated video of Bill running around just fine in August. When Jones’s cast was removed and he was no longer on crutches, Bill seemed to realize, “oh ok, we’re not doing that anymore?” and proceeded to walk normally again. We truly do not deserve dogs.

MCU’s Moon Knight Series Pits Oscar Isaac Against Ethan Hawke

ethan hawke in moon knight
(Getty/Francois G. Durand/Dave J Hogan)

It was only last week that Disney+ finally premiered the first MCU TV show, with two episodes of WandaVision dropping Friday. In some ways, it’s totally unique – it features somewhat minor characters and the show is spoofing sitcoms of years gone by, in service of a larger mystery that will take some time to unpack.

In other ways, it’s one of many, in that there are about to be a whole bunch of MCU TV shows, including The Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and more. One of the “more” is to be Moon Knight, aka Marvel’s Batman (rich vigilante), who has been many things over the years, including an ex-Marine mercenary, a vigilante (who sometimes has supernatural ties to an Egyptian god), to a guy with multiple personalities. The character is not exactly a headliner, but maybe that’s why Marvel is making sure the cast is.

Rumor has it that Oscar Isaac, an excellent actor with three Star Wars flicks under his belt, will be playing the titular Moon Knight, and now Marvel and Disney have secured his foil: Ethan Hawke.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Hawke, who has been in our lives for decades, from Explorers to Reality Bites to Training Day, Boyhood, and Sinister, but has never quite gone the blockbuster or superhero route. Until now.

No one is quite sure who Hawke is playing – aside from the lead villain – but Moon Knight has an archenemy named Bushman, also a former mercenary, that may be an option. It probably doesn’t matter all that much, considering how talented an actor Hawke is.

This show is shaping up to be another interesting entry in the MCU’s increasingly diverse stable of TV shows, each with a different tone and style. We’re yet to learn what genre Moon Knight will fall into, but with actors like Isaac and Hawke leading this show, it can pretty much be whatever it wants.

Amazon’s Massive Lord of the Rings Series Is a Prequel With a Familiar Villian

Lord of the Rings Prequel
(Warner Bros)

It’s one of the most-hyped TV projects that we know the least amount about, but we’re finally starting to get some details about Amazon’s massive Lord of the Rings series set to debut later this year or in early 2022. The hype is real for the series, as Amazon invested a shocking 500 MILLION into the project, sight unseen, with a five-season minimum commitment. For Tolkien fans, this is almost as big (possibly bigger?) as the movies.

So what do we know? Amazon confirmed the series description that first appeared on TheOneRing and was also confirmed by Entertainment Weekly. And that description indicates the new series will take place during the “fabled Second Age” of Middle-earth’s history, meaning it’s set thousands of years before the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

The series “will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.

Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.”

The greatest villain teased in the description is thought to be Sauron, the second Dark Lord and the creator of the One Ring. So the series has a tremendous amount to explore while keeping enough familiar characters and locales to satisfy fans of the books and movies, as it details Sauron’s rise.

The series is currently filming in New Zealand (where the movies were also shot) for the epic 20-episode first season that was intended to be released in late 2021. While no release date has been set, it is still expected to be later this year or early 2022 when we’ll finally get to return to Middle-earth.

“Really Wish My Dad Was Around to See This,” The Rock Shares “Young Rock” Trailer

Young Rock Trailer
(IG/therock)

His dad was on his mind when Dwayne Johnson finally unveiled the trailer to the “Young Rock” show, along with announcing the February 16th premiere date for the new show. The Rock took to social media to share the trailer just one day after the one-year anniversary of his dad’s passing, writing “I really wish my dad was around to see this one. Maaaaan he would’ve been proud.”

His dad (on the show) makes a cameo in the trailer, telling young Dwayne “When you dream big the sky’s the limit,” which prompts little Rock to ask for a vodka martini, before asking for their finest tequila (a nod to his current tequila empire).

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by therock (@therock)

The Rock joked about kicking puberty’s ass at 15 and having the tequila tycoon mindset even as a preteen, and said he “can’t wait to make you and your families laugh a little and share the life lessons I’ve learned along the way.”

His dad, the former WWE star, was obviously on his mind. He took to Instagram and talked about the influence his dad had and how he still hears his dad’s advice.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by therock (@therock)

He raised a toast to his old man, saying “when a loved one dies, it reminds us how we should live.” And concluded “this toast is to all of you out there and your loved ones who are no longer with us. Let’s live with all we got, all our passion, love, ambition, humor, empathy, humanity, all of it. As the show must go on.”

We can all drink to that.