We are excited to announce the appointment of Mike Masarek as the new Board Chair of Goodman JFS. Mike’s passion for mental health advocacy and his unwavering support for our behavioral health program make him an invaluable leader. In honor of Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, we sat down with Mike for an insightful Q&A to learn more about his motivations, vision and personal commitment to mental well-being.

1. What motivated you to take on the role of Board Chair with Goodman JFS?

My great friend Steve Jackman asked me to join the Goodman JFS board about three years ago. As I became more involved on the board, especially in expanding our mental health initiatives into what is now The Jeff Masarek Behavioral Health Center, named in memory of my late brother who died by suicide, it felt natural to grow into a leadership role.

2. Mental health is a subject close to your heart. What experiences have shaped your passion for this cause?

The tragic loss of my brother to suicide profoundly impacted me and fueled my dedication to mental health advocacy. I’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of untreated mental health issues and the reluctance, especially among men, to seek help. This personal experience drives my commitment to making a difference through our behavioral health center.

3. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges or misconceptions men face regarding mental health, and how can our organization help address these issues?

While I am not a professional I have observed that, too often, men are reticent to seek professional help when they are struggling. The Jeff Masarek Behavioral Health Center offers a unique environment designed to be welcoming and supportive. From our clinical director to the thoughtful design of our facility, including colors, textures, and furniture placement, every aspect aims to create a comforting space.

4. How do you envision your role as Board Chair in advancing our mission and making a tangible impact on men’s mental health?

I believe the demand for mental health services will only increase in the coming years. My goals are twofold: to spread the message that mental health should be viewed and treated like any physical health issue, and to work towards an operationally self-sustaining center.

5. Can you tell us about any personal practices or routines you follow to maintain your own mental well-being?

Maintaining mental well-being is crucial. Personally, I prioritize regular exercise, mindfulness practices, and staying connected with loved ones. These routines help me manage stress and maintain a balanced perspective.

6. What are your goals for our organization in the coming year, especially in relation to our mental health initiatives?

In the coming year, I aim to raise awareness about mental health and the services we provide. Expanding our outreach and engagement within the community is crucial. Additionally, I want to focus on building a financially sustainable operation that can continue to grow and serve more individuals in need.

7. How do you plan to engage with our community and stakeholders to raise awareness and support for mental health issues among men?

Engaging with the community and stakeholders involves active outreach, education, and partnership-building. I plan to be a visible advocate, attending events, speaking about the importance of mental health, and fostering collaborations that can amplify our efforts.

8. Lastly, what message would you like to share with other men who might be struggling with their mental health but are hesitant to seek help?

My message to anyone struggling is simple: there is no shame, no embarrassment, and no obstacles to seeking help. Just as you would seek treatment for a physical injury, it’s essential to address mental health issues.

Mike Masarek’s dedication and vision promise a bright future for Goodman JFS, especially in advancing men’s mental health. We are grateful for his leadership and commitment to our mission.