Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day (Canada)

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Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day is June 13th this year in Canada.  Started in 2014 in Ottawa by Jean-François Claude, the founder of TheMensDEN.ca (The Men’s Depression Education Network), it is now held annually on the Tuesday before Father’s Day.  The aim is “to raise awareness of how signs and symptoms of mental health conditions may present themselves differently in men, and to normalize conversations about mental health issues to reduce the stigma that often prevents men from seeking help.”

While men and women both experience mental health issues, men are not always as open to talking about what they’re experiencing.  Due to this, some symptoms may manifest differently; while women hiding their depression or anxiety may appear sad, men could appear to be angry or aggressive.  Some mental health symptoms could also be mistaken for a physical illness.  Some symptoms that can be attributed to mental or emotional could be a racing heart, tightening chest, ongoing headaches, and digestive issues.

Warning signs of possible mental health issues for men include:

  • Anger, irritability or aggressiveness
  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed
  • A need for alcohol or drugs
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions
  • Engaging in high-risk activities
  • Ongoing headaches, digestive issues, or pain
  • Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
  • Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life
  • Unusual thinking or behaviors that concern other people

The LifeLine Canada Foundation and HeadsUpGuys point out that the greatest risk factor for suicide is untreated depression, and that suicide rates are several times higher in men than women.  The conversation about Men’s Mental Health is just starting in Canada.  Visit The Men’s DEN at https://mensdencanada.wordpress.com, The LifeLine Canada Foundation at http://thelifelinecanada.ca/resources/men-2/, or HeadsUpGuys at https://headsupguys.org for more information about men’s mental health and ways to help.