Andrea Austria / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

As men struggle with mental health, manosphere influencers say depression doesn’t exist

Reports indicate that young men are increasingly depressed, isolated, and lonely. Manosphere influencers think they have the answer — they don’t.

As men grapple with increased feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression, viral personalities from the “manosphere” — including Andrew Tate, Sneako, Jon Zherka, and Myron Gaines — are ridiculing chronic mental illness and dismissing the existence of depression.

The manosphere is an online community of right-wing websites, bloggers, and influencers who repackage conservative, antifeminist, and regressive gender politics for the internet age. They utilize these ideologies to recruit and target young men, often promoting extremism, antisemitism, and violence against women.

According to Equimundo’s 2023 study of American men, boys are experiencing higher rates of “depressive symptoms, suicidal thoughts, and a sense of isolation.” Additionally, 65% of men reported feeling that “no one really knows me.” 

Equimundo’s study highlights the severity of men’s feelings of disconnection from intimate relationships, increase in social isolation, and heightened anxieties about the future, among other concerning findings about men’s mental health and stability in the modern age. 

Together, these mental health complications can make young people more vulnerable to extremist views, which have become central to the modern manosphere. 

Men seeking to understand issues related to their romantic relationships or feelings of masculine insecurity often turn to the manosphere, as its figures speak to the genuine fears of men. However, instead of addressing the underlying causes of their followers’ anxieties or depression, manosphere influencers steer them toward the belief that women and a lack of masculinity are responsible for their obstacles.

Regarding issues like depression, these influencers suggest to their audiences that mental health challenges may stem from living lives that are not yet worthwhile or from a lack of effort toward becoming worthy “alpha” men.

This notion — that men must prioritize a profit-driven mindset and an attitude of constant improvement across all aspects of life — is summed up in the manosphere’s so-called “grindset,” which requires adherents to chase eternally shifting goalposts on what defines a man's worthiness. 

Here are examples of manosphere influencers downplaying chronic mental illness, saying depression does not exist, and instructing men to make physical improvements in order to cure depression:

  • Andrew Tate

  • Professional kickboxer, media personality, and alleged human trafficker Andrew Tate is one of the most well-known influencers in the manosphere. He has made several violent and abusive proclamations about women and has purported that depression isn’t real both online and in interviews. 

    During an interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored, Tate explained his position on depression. 

    “I believe that feeling depressed is real; I don’t believe that depression as a clinical disease is real, no,” Tate said. 

    “I can’t become clinically depressed,” Tate later added. “Because I don’t believe in it.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the October 9, 2022, edition of Piers Morgan Uncensored, streamed on YouTube

  • In a YouTube clip from an interview with Tate, he again denied that clinical depression is real. (Tate is banned from YouTube, but there is still plenty of his content on the platform.)

    “The idea of clinical depression as a disease I reject absolutely and I do not believe in,” Tate said. “A lot of people are pretending depression is why their life is shit, when in reality their life is shit, which is why they’re depressed.”

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to YouTube on June 30, 2022, by user @tatetainment

  • In a clip from the misogynistic Fresh & Fit podcast, Tate went on a long rant about men who experience depression. 

    “If you have children and you kill yourself, you were never a man to begin with. Absolute garbage. Garbage,” Tate said. “The only reason this crap happens is because of the acceptance of depression. People say that depression is stigmatized — it’s the complete opposite. It’s accepted now to the point where it’s almost promoted. It’s insane.”

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to YouTube on January 4, 2023, by user @DirectWaffle 

  • On X, Tate has claimed that people can use their depression as motivation or as an “alert system.” 

    Tate has also written online that “depression isn’t real” and that it’s “a choice.”

  • Tate depression is toxic waste

    Citation Screenshot via Tate's X account 

  • Tate depression is an alert system

    Citation Screenshot via Tate's X account 

  • Tate depression isn't real

    Citation Screenshot via Tate's X account 

  • Tate depression is a choice

    Citation Screenshot via Tate's X account 

  • Sneako

  • Right-wing streamer Sneako, whose real name is Nico Kenn De Balinthazy, is a manosphere influencer and associate of pro-Hitler rapper Ye (formerly Kanye West). The Latch described him as “a cheap imitation” of Tate. 

    Sneako is also an associate of white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and spoke at one of Fuentes’ antisemitic rallies. Additionally, Sneako has praised and defended Adolf Hitler. 

    On multiple occasions, Sneako has downplayed depression and claimed that it’s not real. 

    Above an interview clip with gaming streamer Jynxzi that Sneako posted to X, he wrote, “depression is retarted.”

    Sneako also said it’s “bullshit” that people are chronically depressed and claimed that the idea that chemical imbalances cause depression is “another giant psyop.” (There is evidence that “changes in the function and effect” of neurotransmitters in the brain “may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.”)

    “People who get depressed just have nothing to do,” Sneako added. “So do something. Do a push up.”

  • Video file

    Citation Clip via Sneako's X account 

  • In a video uploaded to YouTube, Sneako mocked people with depression. 

    “You get validation now for saying you’re depressed,” Sneako said. “If you tell somebody, ‘Oh, I’m depressed,’ they expect you to say, like, ‘I’m praying for you, I hope you feel better.’ ‘Thanks for saying that. It’s been really hard.’ ‘Wow, you should go to therapy.’ Bro. Fuck that.”

    “We should stop validating and giving people attention for like — it’s like you get to come out as a gay person now. The same way you get to come out as gay, you could come out with, ‘I have anxiety.’ Everybody does. Everybody does. We need someone else to just be like, ‘Bro, OK. Suck it up,’” Sneako added.

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to YouTube on July 31, 2022, by user @sneakodaily155

  • In another video, Sneako said that people who have depression “get some dopamine from thinking that they are kept down, by having an excuse to blame for why their lives are miserable.”

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to YouTube on March 11, 2023, by user @frankifyy

  • On X, Sneako wrote that homophobia cures depression, “Depression isn’t real,” and “Depression is only a belief.”

  • Sneako how to cure depression

    Citation Screenshot via Sneako's X account 

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to X by Sneako 

  • Sneako depression is only a belief

    Citation Screenshot via Sneako's X account 

  • Sneako and his toxic rhetoric are apparently popular with preteen boys. 

    In December, a video emerged of extremely young looking fans approaching Sneako. In another video, a trio of young fans approached Sneako and repeated his own toxic rhetoric back to him, saying, “Fuck the women,” and, “All gays should die.” 

    Glancing at the camera, Sneako smiled and asked, “What have I done?”

  • Fresh & Fit podcast

  • The Fresh & Fit podcast, which describes itself as “the #1 men’s self improvement podcast in the WORLD!,” is a show filled with extreme misogyny. 

    The show is hosted by Why Women Deserve Less author Myron Gaines (real name Amrou Fudl) and dating and lifestyle coach Walter Weekes. Their show has more than 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube. Over the past year, the hosts have embraced antisemitism and Holocaust denial

    During an interview alongside Sneako, Gaines claimed that men are depressed because they are not making enough money or working hard enough in the gym. 

    “A lot of the times when guys are sad, it’s not because ‘I’m depressed,’ or ‘I’m sad, I have this mental disorder’ — no, you’re a fucking bitch. That’s what it comes down to,” Gaines said. “You want some therapy? Go to the fucking gym, OK? Make some goddamn money, become more attractive, take care of yourself, I promise you you’re going to feel a lot better.” 

    “You feel that way because it’s a byproduct of you being a loser,” Gaines added. “It’s your masculinity reminding you, what are you doing?”

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to YouTube on July 1 2023, by Clips from Ahmad Mahmood Show

  • In another clip, Gaines downplayed and mocked chronic depression.

    “It’s up to you whether depression is a temporary feeling or a permanent one,” Gaines said. “There is no ‘I’m depressed, I suffer from depression,’ long term. It’s up to you if you’re going to get out of that depression.”

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to YouTube on September 1, 2023, by FreshandFit Clips

  • Gaines also said depression is a “survival mechanism” and “your body’s natural response to inadequacy.” 

    “You got to get out there and do something, because if you don’t you’re not going to be able to procreate,” Gaines said.

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to YouTube on September 8, 2023, by FreshandFit Clips

  • In a similar video, Gaines claimed that “depression is a healthy response to mediocrity.”

  • Jon Zherka

  • Manosphere influencer Jon Zherka is a self-proclaimed rapist and hater of women who has been accused of flirting with minors online and has promoted extreme misogyny. He has made several misleading and false comments about depression. 

    On X, Zherka wrote, “Racism cures depression,” and, “Depression is inactivity of the soul.”

  • Zherka depression tweet 2

    Citation Screenshot from Zherka's X account 

  • Zherka tweet 1

    Citation Screenshot from Zherka's X account 

  • Zherka also suggested that depressed people should get beat up to feel an adrenaline rush and experience a “Euphoric feeling.”

  • Zherka depression tweet 3

    Citation Screenshot from Zherka's X account 

  • In a clip uploaded by Fresh & Fit titled “Therapy Is A Scam,” Zherka argued, “Most therapists are actually scammers.”

    “If your therapist isn’t racist and sexist, you’re fucked. You’re not getting the truth, bro,” Zherka said.

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to YouTube on June 4, 2023, by FreshandFit Clips

  • In a clip from a Zherka livestream with a supposed psychotherapist, the influencer and his guest claimed that depression cannot be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. 

    “It’s not neurotransmitters in the mind. It’s not a lack of serotonin, that’s a ridiculous concept. There’s no evidence to prove that,” Zherka’s guest said. 

    “Oh shit, you’re saying that. I said that chemicals are stupid,” Zherka responded.

  • Video file

    Citation Clip uploaded to YouTube on March 20, 2024, by Jon Zherka