By: Ben Reed, Staff Writer
For a long time, the dynamic between men and mental health has been a rocky one. Socially, men have been emasculated and shamed for expressing their deepest struggles, and are forced into keeping their mental health obstacles a secret. That is a boundary Xavier Harvey is trying to push with his streetwear brand, Mentality Means More. Pairing his interests in fashion and social media, the California native was in the back row of an astronomy lecture when he was given the idea to start something that could help tackle bad mental health days. Thus the social media tag, @mentalitymeansmore was born.
Through social media posts, and now hoodies emblazoned with graphics and its brand name, Mentality Means More works primarily to destigmatize the experience of mental health within both the male and athlete’s experience. Harvey feels that these two groups face a lot of backlash when it comes to expressing the adverse feelings of mental health. Harvey says, “When I see men open up about their feelings, I find them being emasculated. They’re just put down in a way…we’re all still human. We still have feelings… I hear, ‘Men are supposed to be strong,’ but I want to break that. It’s okay to be vulnerable and reach out for help.”
Harvey went on to talk about how his own struggles with mental health further influenced him in forming his brand: “I was thinking, ‘I’m really going through it right now, but I’m not going to let that eat me up inside. I thought about making a brand so I could find others who were going through the same things I was going through, so we could go through them together.”
Mentality Means More hoodies have been seen around the Gorham campus, primarily amongst members of various sports teams. Harvey is working to expand his work to the state of Maine, citing how he reaches out to other sports teams that he plays against in the USM Men’s Basketball team. Harvey has made it a goal for himself to reach even more people through social media that are struggling with mental health and spread his message.
When asked about the reception received with the brand, Harvey says he gets comments such as, “You’re just trying to get followers [on social media],” or “You’re just trying to make money [with the hoodies].” On the contrary, Harvey stresses that he genuinely cares about connecting with people over their struggles, and trying to grow together.
Harvey says about Mentality Means More: “For me, personally, this isn’t just another mental health streetwear brand, because there’s an actual meaning and story behind it…It’s meaningful and I really care about this brand because I get to help people…I get to reach out to people…I get to make new friends that I probably never would have met through the brand.”
While expanding more on the topic of mental health, Harvey states that it’s all mentality. He states that wanting to grow as an individual has the potential to give you strength. While Harvey says he doesn’t have all of the answers as to how to combat mental health, he recited a mantra of, “I’m just going to fight today.” What Harvey meant by that, he explains, is that although he struggles still with mental health, he chooses instead to embrace it. “It’s not putting your problems away, or putting it behind you. It’s choosing to face them every day, and soon enough those problems will lessen and lessen. You’ll start to be more positive in life. It’s all about how you perceive things,” Harvey said.
If you’d like to reach out to Xavier Harvey and see more of his work, you can find Mentality Means more on Instagram and TikTok @mentalitymeansmore