June 4, 2024

Empowering Canadian Men's Wellness

Men's mental health has been an area of growing concern for many years now.

According to the Canadian Men's Health Foundation, a shocking 43% of men aged 19-29 report moderate-to-severe depression, while 18% of men from the broader male population report the same. Anxiety is also at an all-time high: 57% of men aged 19-29 report moderate-to-high anxiety, while 30% of the broader male population report the same. The depression and anxiety percentages for racialized men are 30% and 42% respectively, while depression and anxiety percentages for gay or bisexual men are 28% and 45% respectively.

In my clinical experience as a Registered Psychotherapist in Downtown Toronto, several big factors contribute to men’s worsening of mental health. The first has to do with the male crisis of identity; the traditional roles of men that many of us grew up with, such as being a provider, a patriarch and a protector, are being challenged and eroded. Tough economic situations and significantly increased financial, academic productivity of women make it harder for men to fulfil their duty as a provider. Sociopolitical forces in the past 20-30 years have focused on de-emphasizing and disempowering the negative patriarchal forces in our society, with an unfortunate side effect of further alienating some men from the leadership duties and values they were raised on. What’s left is being a protector, and even that is challenging. How many of us were raised to believe that we protect others by being stoic, independent, the strong, silent type?

All of which contribute to the feeling that we as men are not meeting our own expectations, are not meeting society’s expectations, while also feeling that it is also our duty to not communicate how we feel about our struggles. Many of us are taught to channel our emotions into actions, instead of feeling our emotions or asking for help. Many of us are still experiencing a strange divide in which some parts of society seem to be asking us to be more vulnerable, but when we are more vulnerable and transparent with our feelings, we are met with awkwardness, silence, even judgment, scorn and vague comments about how we should be tougher. 

The end result being that, as we feel forced to store up more and more of our emotions, we start feeling more disconnected from ourselves, more tired, more anxious, more depressed, since suppression of our emotions is one of the most cognitively, emotionally, physically and spiritually costly actions a human being can possibly perform. We feel more alone, less validated, less able to be productive in the world since so much of our energy has gone to holding our emotions in while trying our best to stay afloat and live our lives.

There is another way forward, and it has to do with finding your individual way to integrate your emotions into your life. Figuring out an individual way to reconnect with our emotions and treat them as a valuable source of information. Communicate our emotions in ways that are constructive to us and the people we care about.

Integra Health's dedicated team of Registered Psychotherapists and Social Workers is ready to accompany you on your mental health journey. Whether you seek individual, couples, family, or adolescent therapy, we offer both virtual and in-person sessions. To explore your options or connect with a therapist, email us at intake@integrahealthcentre.com or book online.