Men are stuck in a box: we are conditioned to be cold, competitive, cruel, sexually vigorous, violent, solitary [ ] but men really need to look inwards towards each other to understand many of us have mental health issues and desperately need help.” TL: When and how did you seek help? SEB: I did reach out for help when I realized some aspects of my anxiety were impacting my relationships and my functioning. I’ve been in therapy on and off over the last few years, tried medication and self-medicating. I used the McGill mental health services without success, and when that failed I went to [the queer community resources] ASTTeQ and Project 10 for referrals to trans-friendly therapists, as well as financially accessible ones. Money has definitely been one of the biggest barriers for me in accessing these services, since most of them aren’t covered.
mental health I found it challenging to find the resources. In an act of desperation, I reached out in a post on Facebook. This did two things for me: it held me accountable and it put me in touch with a variety of people who either had experience with it or knew someone who did. Through that I got into a detox centre and started my path of recovery. ANDREW: When I understood what [depression] was and that it was real and it needed to be dealt with.
Andrew went to therapy, support groups, and has tried antidepressants. He said therapy and antidepressants have helped him, as well as being open with others. What if we didn’t believe in the stigma? What if you—the male-identifying reader—could address the shame or embarrassment associated with talking about your mental health, reducing
its power and setting it free? From my experience, it takes more courage to be vulnerable than it does to be silent. Silence is dishonest. These four men shared the truth, a truth that will always be there: a truth that challenges the toxic culture of masculinity, as Seb noted. A truth that puts equal weight on a man sharing his emotions, as a woman does her’s, like Antonio mentioned. And a truth most of us want to hear—and help with—such as with Mike’s friends and Andrew’s story. It’s going to take time to set aside years of a male “dominant” stereotype, to change the narrative, to encourage men to be brave in a different — and sometimes uncomfortable — manner. Let’s not sleep on this anymore, it’s time to dismantle the stigma and reconstruct our perception. We’ve been hitting snooze for too long.
Graphic Moragh Ailish Rahn-Campbell
MIKE: When I began actively wanting to address my