While most people associate Movember with men’s physical health, in recent years the initiative has extended to incorporate a focus on men’s mental health as well. As November is now officially Men’s Mental Health Awareness month, I want to share some thoughts on the topic.
Globally on average, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day. When it comes to men, we tend to be quieter and less willing to share sensitive issues or thoughts with other men. In the past, men were raised to put on a brave face, keep calm and not show any emotion. And to “act like a man” (whatever that means) when confronted with problems. While the conversation and stigma around being vulnerable and emotional has improved over the past 5-10 years, men still have a long way to go when it comes to their mental health.
Three helpful tools I have found in day-to-day life to help with mental health are:
- Self-Reflection — now this doesn’t necessarily mean yoga or meditation; it’s whatever you find that helps you to relax your body and mind. Whether it’s something physical like running or working out, gardening or even cooking, these types of activities can provide a lot of enjoyment and help to create a relaxing mood.
- Avoiding overuse of social media/technology — social media has proven across the board to create a negative feeling with users the more they read and participate online. Putting time limits on these apps can help one to focus on more positive things in life such as in-person interactions or getting outdoors.
- Interacting in person — now that the lockdowns are behind us, getting back together with friends (especially for men) can be helpful for keeping you in a positive mindset. Joining a sports league, a round of golf or even meeting with friends for a drink/food is a great way to catch up and share how things are going.
Recently I was able to take a course from the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Getting a certificate in Mental Health First Aid has provided me with the tools I need to spot some early warning signs for myself and any friends or family with regard to mental health challenges. This course was instrumental in helping me understand how to better relate to others. Learning how to avoid key mistakes and judgments when interacting with others was another key benefit. Lastly, learning to be empathetic, instead of always being sympathetic, is just one example of something I will use in my everyday interactions.
In closing, during November please do try and reach out to the men in your life and make yourself available to have a chat, share some stories and check in to see how they’re doing.
A small conversation can go a long way to brightening someone’s day!
Eli’s Place will be a rural, residential treatment program for young adults with serious mental illness. To learn more about our mission and our proven-effective model click here.
Matt Cappellucci | Eli’s Place Board Member
With over 15 years in both the transportation and financial sectors, Matt has experience working and building relationships with clients across many different industries including CPG, technology and automotive. Currently, Matt is a transportation manager at Walmart Canada.