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Men, we have a problem

Guest Author: John

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

Men, we have a problem.

A deep seeded, long standing practice of remaining silent about our mental health.

This “tough guy” facade is killing us. Therefore, we owe it to everyone we love, to those who have an emotional investment in our lives to overcome the idea that we can handle or mental pain on our own.

This “tough guy” facade is killing us.

Man I get it, we don’t ever want to be perceived as weak around other dudes. I mean, how many stupid things have we all done after watching our best buddy do it before us? Like, I don’t know, say touching an electric fence designed to keep cattle from escaping the field.

Once your buddy dares you, the pressure to prove that you’re no chicken is on, despite your inner voice screaming: “This is stupid, I don’t really want to shock myself.”

And even though the presence of logical thought was guiding you appropriately, you reach out and ZAP! There, you proved you’re a man. Its like we assign some sinificant importantace to every stupid thing we do, its almost as if ever one of them is some sort of right of passage.

There, you proved you’re a man.

Ever since I was diagnosed with PTSD, Depression and Anxiety, I have made it my mission to help others with mental illness by meeting in person, via video chat and telling my mental wellness journey on my blog. I Have also done podcast, contributing articles like this one and am acting as a mental health advisor for a political candidate running in Canada’s upcoming federal election.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s not to toot my own horn — I put my energy elsewhere. I bring it up because it demonstrates this: In my journey to help others, I run into many people who are looking for someone who will listen and point them in the direction for help. But not one person I have helped was a man, not one. I have tried but to no avail. It’s as though every man has been sworn to secrecy. Well dudes, it’s time to break the man code of silence.

The following are highlights taken from statistics Canada, 2009:

  • In 2009 there were 3,890 suicides in Canada, a rate of 11.5 per 100,000 people.
  • The suicide rate for males was three times higher than the rate for females (17.9 versus 5.3 per 100,000).
  • Although suicide deaths affect almost all age groups, those aged 40 to 59 had the highest rates.
  • Married people had a lower suicide rate than those who were single, divorced or widowed.

Although these stats were collected ten years ago, they nonetheless reflect what is still true today. Men, we clearly have a problem to solve. We like to solve problems so, let’s talk, let’s find a solution.

Men, we clearly have a problem to solve.

Remember the example at the beginning of this article? How it took courage to touch that electric fence and despite your inner voice screaming at you, you found the strength to repeat the action of you buddy grabbing the wire?

If you found the inner strength to impress your friend, then why is seeking help for your mental health any different than this example? Oh, I know, the above example was, well, STUPID! Your mental health on the other hand is a very serious matter, a matter that can have dire consequences if left unattended to.

I suggest that we, as men, take the same approach to our mental well being as we would when we cave to the pressure that is predicated on “being a man.” Feeling awkward about discussing emotions can and indeed does act as a deterrent but just like the example above, we must find the courage to step up, get the help we need and be an example for other men who may not be able to seek help without the strength of their brethren. Be that guy that one who instead of daring your buddy to do something stupid, dare him to talk, encouge him to get the help he needs. His very life may depend on it.

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#cjaceyvlogs for a surviving Male with lots of strength to help support mens mental health and wellbeing.

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