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Opinion: Counselling is cooler than we think, Squamish

'A man who is trying to emotionally take care of himself? Now that’s someone to celebrate.'
Drazen ZigicGetty Images
Help is available locally for men who need it.

Men’s mental health is suffering across Canada and B.C.

A recent UBC study of 1,450 self-identifying men was released and had a few staggering results. Nearly half of the men in the study were at or above the threshold for probable major depression. About one in 10 men were in the severe range for major depression. Approximately 55% of the respondents reported feeling lonely.

Those statistics are obviously far too high, but perhaps what’s more disheartening is that about half the respondents reported never asking for help as well as hiding how they actually feel.

Of course, this is not to place blame on these men for not taking care of themselves. Rather it is a stain on the ways we determine what is and what is not masculine. You don’t need to look very far to see masculinity portrayed as a grit-your-teeth, work-hard, avoidant personality.

And, you know what, I can attest that seeking help can be a hard decision, as it took me at least a year to finally see a counsellor when I was feeling very depressed in 2021.

And, I literally used to work in social services before becoming a reporter. So if there’s anyone who knows how much these services can help, it’s me — and it was still hard for me to personally seek it out when I needed it.

Even after I worked up the courage to go, I thought my first few sessions would play out like that scene in Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon and Robin Williams don’t say anything to each other throughout the session.

Instead, I unloaded like a dump truck.

 But, at least for a moment, a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

I’d be lying if I said that everything was resolved after that session.

In reality, everyone experiences some days where things go swimmingly, and then some days it seems as if the whole world is against you. Counselling is there to help you learn how to deal when it seems that the whole world is against you. And that takes work.

But in reality, counselling is cool. It’s like a mental workout. It’s hard, but it feels good.

Fortunately, we’re chock full of counsellors in the Sea to Sky Corridor. And, if the expense is part of your avoidance, then there are local programs that can help subsidize most of the cost.

That version of the quiet, brooding man that often pervades our screens isn’t actually cool.

But a man who is trying to emotionally take care of himself? Now that’s someone to celebrate.


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