June 13, 2017 is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day.
This annual event aims to normalize conversations about mental health issues and reduce the stigma that often prevents men from seeking help. Men and boys are taught to not talk about their emotions which makes asking for help or admitting when you need it harder.
This day recognizes that stigma may make it difficult for men to identify their own mental health and substance use issues. In addition, signs and symptoms of mental health conditions may present themselves differently in men. Men are more likely to describe their mental health concerns as physical symptoms such as headaches or chronic pain. This link between signs of mental illness and physical symptoms is often unrecognized and leads to undiagnosed, untreated men. As a result, men are more likely to develop schizophrenia at a younger age and four times more likely to die by suicide than women.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide (no matter your gender) it’s important to talk to an adult you trust. This could be a parent, family member, school counsellor, someone at a Teen Clinic or health centre or a phone line. Anyone who is thinking about suicide or worried about a friend who may be thinking about suicide can call the Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line 1-877-435-7170. The number is free and there are trained counsellors who can help. You can also visit their website, www.reasontolive.ca.
The Kids Help Phone recently launched a website for teen guys. It’s called BroTalk and it understands the challenges that teen guys (cis and trans-identified) face and have the expertise and experience to guide and support you on a wide range of issues.
Want to show support to men’s mental health?
- Wear bright- or lime-green coloured clothing today
- Use the #MensMHday hashtag on social media, to show your support
- Encourage and allow all men to share their emotions
- If you’re a man, remember that sharing your emotions or crying isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength