Life as a dad at any stage of life is a challenge that never lets up. From pre-fatherhood there are pressures to kick your ‘childish ways’ and build a family, then there’s a bunch of unknowable responsibilities if, or when you decide to become a parent. And now you’re really in it. You have to sculpt a responsible, kind, and thoughtful human being and forgive the mistakes you make along the way.
The day-to-day trials can become a bigger part of your life than the things you used to enjoy and before you know it, you forget to take a moment for yourself, share some positivity, and be good – for no reason other than it’s the right thing to do, (“Be Good, For Nothing” as we say at BN3TH).
It’s time to talk about it.
Did you know:
- Around 10% of Canadian men experience significant mental health challenges in their life (1)
- Approximately one million Canadian men suffer from major depression each year (2)
- On average, approximately 4,000 Canadians take their own life each year, of those suicides; 75% are men (3)
- Canadian indigenous men have a suicide rate that is double that of the Canadian national average, with Inuit men being 11 times the national average (4)
- Gay men have a higher rate of depression, anxiety, suicidality, self-harm, and substance abuse in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts (5)
You’d be surprised how much your friends are just hoping to be able to open up about how they’re feeling. Sometimes it means we need to take the first steps in helping someone close to us have a better day.
Men’s health resource, Manifest.me has some suggestions of how to start:
Don’t deliver an ultimatum.
That can lead to a power struggle and increase his likelihood to say no outright. Instead, highlight how you notice he is suffering, and therapy can help them find joy again.
Talk about you.
Tell him about how you are worrying and not sleeping. Understand that there is more going on with him than what you can see and be compassionate.
Don’t diagnosis him.
Leave that to the experts. Instead, just let him know that you have noticed some changes and that you are concerned.
Focus on solutions.
Show him some research about the effectiveness of treatment and normalize it with statistics.
Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger and there are a wide variety of resources available for opening up about how you’re feeling.
- Movember - Resources, stories, programs and conversations around men's health.
- Tethr - An online peer-to-peer support community connecting men for honest and open conversations about life.
- Project circle up - A social media community bringing men together around their mental health.
- Next Gen Men - Creating brave spaces to engage, educate, and empower boys & men on gender & equality.
- Evryman - A membership-based community of men "for whom emotional expression would be a long-term effort, not a 'quick fix.'"
- HeadsUpGuys - A depression resource that provides guys with information and practical tips to manage and prevent depression in men.
Even if it’s a quick text with ‘Check-in time. How are you feeling today?’, it can make the world of difference to someone feeling like they could use a friend right now. It’s up to all of us to reach out to others and help raise them up. Let’s Be Good, For Nothing – together.
CMHA. (n.d.). Men and Mental Illness. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from https://cmha.ca
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. (2016, December 01). We Should Be Talking About Men's Mental Health. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from http://health.sunnybrook.ca/men/mental-health-depr...
Health at a Glance. (2017, June 16). Retrieved August 21, 2018, from https://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2012001/art...
Crawford, A. (n.d.). Suicide among Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/s...
CMHA. (n.d.). Policy Papers on Equity. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from http://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/lesbian-gay-bisex...
D. K. Macdonald (2016, September 12). Canadian Suicide Statistics 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from http://dustinkmacdonald.com/canadian-suicide-stati...