Men’s mental health matters
Keo Bunny, Features Editor
Movember. Men’s Mental Health Week. Men’s Health Month.Just three of the many men’s health related calendar events across the year. This begs the question: why has the topic of men’s health, especially mental health, been on the forefront of the public consciousness lately?
It might be because according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, out of the 4000 suicides each year, 75 per cent of them are men. Or maybe it’s how, according to a different study, nearly one in four men surveyed “said they were experiencing psychological pain so intolerable that they could feel themselves falling apart.”
Unless you’ve been living under a very large rock, you might have noticed there’s a certain stigma attached to men’s mental health. Of course, stress and mental health issues aren’t confined to a single gender but mental illnesses tend to be overlooked in men. Men’s mental health issues often go untreated partly also because they are far less likely to seek help or treatment.
But knowing all of this, what can we really do to help bring this issue to light? After all, global initiatives like Movember, Men’s Mental Health Week and Men’s Health Month seem to have tried and men are still dying by suicide in higher rates. While that reality may be stark, the truth is the only thing we can do is try. Here are a few tips on how to potentially help not just the men but everyone in your life.
Ask thrice if need be. Sometimes our instinctive reaction to someone asking if we’re okay is to just reply with the classic, ‘I’m fine’ and leave it at that. Asking twice implies that the situation is more than just a nonchalant off-handed comment but something that you mean.
Call it out
It’s really easy to let self-destructive behaviour in your friends slide. But there’s differences between putting a few extra hours into work versus drowning themselves in their job to avoid dealing with something. You might want to keep an eye for friends who are trying to bury themselves in vast amounts of controlled substances.
Seek professional help
Realistically, people aren’t always equipped to deal with every situation or issue their friends or loved ones are going through. Sometimes, it’s better to refer them to someone whose expertise is in this area. If they’re part of the Mount Royal University (MRU) community, MRU Wellness has a variety of programs and services, including counselling, dedicated to help in various ways.