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Real Men Feel: The Depression Files [Podcast]


Mental Health Advocate, Podcaster, NAMI Speaker, Blogger & Coach, Al Levin, stops by to talk about his experiences and podcast regarding depression.

Listen to Real Men Feel, #178, “The Depression Files” here:

Al Levin is an educator in St Paul, Minnesota, and he discusses how the coronavirus has changed things for public education there and his experience with depression and the podcast that grew out of that.

“I was really close to taking my own life. I know that if I didn’t reach out and ask for help, I would’ve been in dire trouble.” ~ Al Levin

Al gives a detailed description of his two bouts with major depression; the days in bed, not being able to do anything, the inability to focus, and generalized thoughts of suicide becoming something worse. One thing that stood out is how supported Al was by his family and employer, which is something not everyone has on their side. Yet, Al still felt tremendous shame and didn’t want everyone to know what he was dealing with.

Al also explores the goals he has for his podcast, The Depression Files, which interviews men who’ve experienced depression or some other mental illness. Al and I are both big believers in the power of all of our stories. Sharing can chip away at the stigma around mental health and encourage people to reach out for help. He also touches on fear, types of depression, the importance of self-care, and putting good out into the world.

TRIGGER WARNING: There is open talk about suicidal thoughts and attempts in this episode.

If you are contemplating suicide, please reach out for help. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to 741741. Outside of the US, get more numbers here.
Crisis Text Line 741741


Topics and Questions Include:

  • (1:07) First, how are you during this crazy time?
  • (2:58) Are you seeing a rise in depression in people?
  • (5:14) Tell me about your podcast, The Depression Files.
  • (7:10) Nobody creates something called the depression files without having some sort of experience first, do they? Al’s story.
  • (15:35) PTSD from suicide attempts and the importance of support.
  • (16:54) If you reach out to the wrong person.
  • (19:10) If you need help right now – 1 800 273 8255
  • (19:50) Were you able to tell everyone at work about your struggle?
  • (21:40) Did you face stigma, or was it the fear of it?
  • (22:57) Were you conscious of what the shame was rooted in?
  • (27:23) People have different types of depression.
  • (29:06) Negative stereotypes of mental illness.
  • (30:08) Being thankful for depression.
  • (31:36) What was the first big public step for you?
  • (37:14) Have there been any commonalities in the stories from all the guys you’ve talked to?
  • (41:41) What would you do to support educators more?
  • (45:07) Is there a question you are asked the most regarding depression?
  • (48:04) Medication stigma, judgment, and side-effects.
  • (52:02) Do you have a goto habit, practice, program, or book that has helped you?
  • (56:01) What are you looking forward to?
  • (57:22) What’s the best way to get in touch with you?


Watch Real Men Feel, #178, The Depression Files, April 7, 2020

“You don’t have to be a therapist or a doctor to listen to somebody and ask somebody if they are okay.” ~ Al Levin

Learn more about Al at Follow him on Twitter, and subscribe to The Depression Files on Apple Podcast or the podcast platform you enjoy.

Let us know what you thought here in the comments or shoot an email to [email protected].

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Scroll down to the author bio for all the links to access more #RealMenFeel

A version of this post was previously published on and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


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