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Supporting Men-tal Health

by Leanne Companion ASEBP | October 20 2016

It’s that time of year again. You know, the time that your otherwise clean shaven friends and co-workers start the quest to grow those bodacious moustaches, collecting money for the continued research and treatment of male cancers. With growing mo-mentum, the Movember Foundation is expanding their outreach to support men’s overall health, including mental health. As we all know, mental health issues are now one of the leading causes of disability. One in three people experience a mental illness within their lifetime and this includes our brothers, sons, husbands, uncles, fathers—you see where this is going.

A Little Perspective

In fact, although more women still suffer from illnesses like depression, recent numbers for men are increasing. Where the numbers really become alarming is in respect to suicide. Just the other day there was a news article that stated suicide is the leading cause of injury deaths in Edmonton. Yes—Edmonton, Alberta! And the statistics ring true for Albertans too. The article goes on to mention that in 2013, 165 people in the greater Edmonton area took their own lives—the majority of whom were middle aged men. That’s alarmingly two times higher than the number of people who died in car accidents over the same period.

Talk About It

Thankfully we have resources like the Support Network Distress Line and Alberta Health Services’ Mental Health Help Line that support mental health but what else can we do? Let’s empower men to seek out mental health programs, educate themselves and break down that “tough guys don’t ask for help” stigma.

Open those figurative doors and talk to the men and boys in your life. Start conversations in your wellness teams about men’s mental health and brainstorm an awareness program that you and your team can champion for the month of November. Check out what the Movember Foundation is doing to support men’s mental health, search for resources online like Heads Up Guys sponsored by the University of British Columbia or dig into books like Sincerely, Your Prostate to help guide your mental health initiatives.

Alright wellness champs, let’s get talking!

Leanne Companion

As one of ASEBP’s superhero claims facilitators, Leanne has been a ‘force for good’ in the mental health arena for nearly 15 years. Despite her crippling fear of buffalo and inability to work out the plot to The Matrix (not related), Leanne is the one you want on hand when you need something remembered. We have yet to see how, but we’re certain her gift for remembering Costco scan codes from the early 90s will come in handy one day.