“Movember looks at mental health through a male lens, focusing on prevention, early intervention and health promotion. We’re working towards a world where men take action to be mentally well, and are supported by those around them.” – Movember Canada (https://ca.movember.com/about/mental-health)
Mental health concerns are a very real issue faced by men. Unfortunately, there can be a stigma when it comes to men’s mental health. The messaging “be a man!” or “toughen up” is stigmatizing, harmful, and diminishes the very real experiences of men impacted by mental illness. Mental health concerns greatly impact men, including our Métis men and boys. In Canada, Métis males are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous males; further, Métis males are dying by suicide at a rate more than three times higher than the rate among Métis females (Statistics Canada).
While we don’t have Metis-specific data, we know that men are also y more likely to die of overdose than women. In 2020, four times as many men have died than women; and those involved in trades and those in the construction industry are the most at risk of overdose related death.
In BC, our male Métis Youth are experiencing mental health concerns at a higher rate than their non-Métis peers. And, unfortunately, we know that male Métis Youth have been rating their mental health as increasingly worse over the last few years, as shown in the Ta Saantii Deu/Neso Report.
We also know, however, that community and connection can make a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of our male Métis Youth. From the Ta Saantii Deu/Neso report, we learned that “[Métis] youth with a mental health condition were at increased risk of a suicide attempt. However, when these youth had supportive adults and peers in their lives, and were engaged in their community, the risk was reduced.”
Fostering connection and reducing stigma is essential, not just for our male Métis Youth, but for our Métis men as well. We need to normalize and recognize the fact that men can be impacted by mental health concerns. It is critical to engage in safe, open dialogues about mental health and wellness for our Métis boys and men. Beginning these conversations early allows opportunity for greater awareness and understanding of one’s own mental health, and can allow opportunity for early intervention and support. Talk with the men in your life, our fathers and brothers, our uncles and cousins, our grandfathers and our friends; walk together to foster awareness and understanding within your Community.
Building awareness and understanding allows the opportunity for the stigma towards men’s mental health to be reduced. When we reduce stigma, we begin to create a world where men can feel supported to connect to mental health resources. Remember, it is never too late to reach out for support. We must know that reaching is not a sign of weakness, but rather demonstrates great strength and resilience. As shared by Shaughn Davoren during Métis Nation BC’s 2020 Mental Illness Awareness Week Campaign:
“It is OKAY for men to have mental health issues. Men CAN cry. These are things that I think a lot of people need to know and respect.”
RESOURCES AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Métis Crisis Line: 1-833-METISBC (1-833-638-4722): https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.ca/
Crisis line workers assist with problem solving, establishing support services, developing safety plans, conducting suicide risk assessments, offering referrals, and safety monitoring for at-risk individuals. These services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for Métis people throughout the province of British Columbia.
BounceBack®, Canadian Mental Health Association: http://bouncebackbc.ca/
BounceBack is a free skill-building program designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered online or over the phone with a coach, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness.
Crisis Centre BC: https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/get-help/
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE), or call your local crisis centre. Both of the 310-6789 and 1-800-SUICIDE phone lines are available in over 140 languages using a language service. Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (12PM-1AM). Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (12PM-1AM).
HeadsUpGuys is a resource for supporting men in their fight against depression by providing tips, tools, information about professional services, and stories of success. The team of clinicians, researchers, and mental health advocates bring together their expertise and personal experiences to provide men with this unique resource. HeadsUpGuys is a program of The University of British Columbia (UBC).
Here to Help BC: http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca
HeretoHelp works to support you in finding quality information, learning new skills, and connecting with key resources in BC. Explore strategies to help you take care of your mental health and use substances in healthier ways, find the information you need to manage mental health and substance use problems, and learn how you can support a loved one.
Lifeguard App: https://lifeguarddh.com/
The LifeGuard App sets a timer to wake you after consuming a substance. If you suffer an overdose while using the app, EMS will try to reach you before being dispatched to your location. The app is completely anonymous and will not access your location or information unless EMS dispatch is required. Since the app’s launch in June, over 1000 people have used the app successfully and EMS dispatched have saved two lives.
Movember Canada: https://ca.movember.com/?home
Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men.