Why Men’s Mental Health?

When a successful, prominent and well-known industry leader in the cycling community died from suicide unexpectedly last year, it shocked and surprised most everyone who knew him. Almost no one had any idea of his challenges and deep struggles with mental health. He spoke to few people about what he was facing and had trouble getting mental health support that worked for him. His journey is an illustration of the endemic challenges specific to Men’s Mental Health.


The Pressures of Being a Man

A report on depression and mental illness by the Canadian Mental Health Association rightly stresses that in a society that celebrates masculine qualities, there is little patience for any show of weakness in men (CMHA, 2010). From a very early age, boys are told to hold back their tears, and men are conditioned to hide their emotions. Men are expected to be able to stoically deal with life’s pressures, be tough, financially successful, and the slightest show vulnerability is seen as a weakness.

Many people, men and women both, experience extreme stress, feelings of failure, depression, mental health struggles and suicide ideation all the while appearing healthy, happy and being highly successful in the eyes of everyone around them.

For many men, self-identity is defined by success in work and career, and for many, lack of, or decline in success, and potential loss of that work and career is seen as a potential loss of who they identify themselves to be. Potential for job loss through normal circumstances such as downsizing, consolidation, etc. is always there and when these events occur, they themselves can be triggers for extreme stress, feelings of failure, depression, declining mental health and possible suicide.

For most men, reaching out for help when experiencing extreme stress, feelings of failure, depression, mental health difficulty and suicide ideation, is contrary to what they have been societally conditioned to do as a man. When they do consider reaching out for help, they struggle with what family and friends will think, and what the impact will be if their employer becomes aware. In management, this can be a career ending event.

In Canada, in 2011, there were 3728 suicides. 2781 of these suicides were male (Statistics Canada, 2014).

Men aged 40-60 have the highest number of suicides in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2014).

Women attempt suicide more often than men BUT men die by suicide three times more often than women (Statistics Canada, 2014).

Middle aged men die by suicide more often than any other group and it is these realities that need to be addressed.

In memory of the ones we have lost to suicide, in the hope that we can help all men who may experience struggles with mental health and suicide ideation, we have created a cycling event aimed at raising awareness of men’s mental health issues, reducing the stigma around suicide and encouraging open discussion.

Join Us. One Great Ride. Just Like Life

 

Register for the Peloton Ride 2019

 

– Derry Bunting, supporter of the Kintsugi Alliance for Men’s Mental Health

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