top of page
Rooftop Party

Men's Mental Health

Be a Man. Man Up. Grow a Pair.

In other words: get your shit together. Don't admit you're struggling. Don't show weakness.

What does "be a man" even mean?

 

There are many messages in our society about how men are “supposed” to be. How masculinity is defined. And most men are raised with many of these messages, explicitly or implicitly, from a very young age. These messages can include:

 

  • Don’t cry (it’s weak to show emotion)

  • Be a provider (make lots of money, provide for your partner and/or your family, no matter what)

  • Be in control (always know what you’re doing, don’t let people walk all over you, don’t be “whipped”, have mastery over your body)

  • Be dominant (Be competitive, win at everything, don’t show weakness, if you need help you’re failing)

  • Be Hypersexual (Sleep with as many people as possible, if you don’t want to have sex there’s something wrong with you, if you are having sexual difficulties then you are less of a man)

  • There are also a lot of messages focused on treating women and queer people as less than. (Don’t be a girl, “That’s gay”, strict gender roles holding men as controllers of women).

These expectations set a rigid, impossible, standard for masculinity. Which makes it very difficult for those who can’t or don’t want to meet these standards, including masc trans and non-binary folks, to move through the world. Many men are set up to feel like failures, or worse, because they don’t meet these expectations. Which then creates conditions for men to feel depressed, isolated, and have a lower sense of self-worth.

 

It also creates conditions where men are told that to “be a man” they have to be comfortable hurting other people (fighting other men, controlling women, tearing down queer folks) which is obviously very harmful to those being harmed, but also damaging to the men causing the harm. And when we have conversations about men’s depression, addictions, and rates of suicide we need to be able to name that these things are often influenced by the pressures men feel to “be a man”.

 

So where can men turn when they are struggling?

 

The answer that many men are told is nowhere. There are lots of messages in our society telling men that they have to be able to keep it together, be tough, deal with it, man up. This leaves many men feeling isolated and alone. But men deserve to be able to turn to other people for help, support, and care. If you want help or someone to talk to about anything you are struggling with in your life, we are here for you.

 

Individual Counselling

 

If you're feeling isolated or depressed, counselling is a great place to start. You don't have to know what to say, or explain why it is that you are even there. All you need to say is, "I'm struggling, and I need some help to sort out why." Counselling is a space where you can define your own values on your own terms, not because other people are telling you how you should be or act. You get to define manhood and masculinity for yourself.

 

Counselling can also be a space for you to unpack how you have been affected by messages (from family, from culture, from society...) telling you how you were supposed to act. Sometimes men find it difficult to know where to turn when those messages led them to do things they regret, like hurting or harming others. Counselling can help you grow from these experiences, process your shame or confusion, and move forward to building beautiful relationships now and in the future.

 

Relationship Counselling

 

We know many relationships can be impacted by these struggles. Men have to feel they are “man enough”. This can show up in you communicate, your comfort (or lack thereof) with commitment and intimacy, the way arguments look, and the way you treat your partner. A lot of men feel least capable within their intimate relationships, because when their partners are unhappy, they take it as their own failing. We also know sometimes your partner can be confused about how to best support you or communicate with you. Relationship counselling is a space where a therapist can support a couple in having these difficult conversations.

bottom of page