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How One Organization Is Making It Easier to Find Mental Health Support

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For men struggling with their mental health, finding support can feel near impossible, but this Ontario-based organization is working to change that. 

“Be a man.” “Rub some dirt in it.” As the conversation around mental health has become more widely accepted, society’s notorious “man up” stereotype has been one of the most difficult to erase, seemingly embedded in the very fabric of our society. For many Canadians, and particularly men, it’s the hidden, often internalized mental health struggles that remain one of the most dangerous threats. 


By nature, humans are social beings, yet how that socialization manifests can look very different for men compared with women. From coffee chats to book clubs, female socialization can often be defined as a forum for animated discussion — open and vulnerable conversation is often encouraged, even having earned its own typecast as “girl talk.” For men, however, conversation — even in a friendly social gathering — can frequently remain surface level. The deeply rooted “man up” mentality prevents many men from feeling comfortable sharing their personal struggles openly, even with close friends. 

Suffering in silence

Social connection is critical to mental health resilience. If we don’t discuss our struggles, how are we to know just how many are going through similar experiences? Despite this, isolation remains particularly common in men, and plays a critical role in not only exacerbating these feelings but leading to suicidal ideation. In Canada, men are three times more likely than women to take their own life. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in men aged of 15 and 39, and 75 per cent of suicides across the country are by men. 

The reality is that mental health struggles can impact anyone. From those going through a significant life change — fatherhood, job loss, retirement — to those who may be biologically predisposed, one in three Canadians will struggle with their mental health at some point in their lifetime. In those dark moments, getting through the day can feel daunting enough, let alone the thought of seeking help. 

Accessing local support systems 

ConnexOntario has made its mission to help connect Ontarians with mental health support and services. Hosting Ontario’s most comprehensive addictions and mental health services database, ConnexOntario exists to bridge the gap between services that are available and the people who need them. The organization’s system navigation services are available to Ontarians 24/7, via email, phone, text, or online chat. Free and confidential, ConnexOntario uses non-identifying information (like a city) to identify treatment or support services within a local area. From crisis lines and self-help groups to distress centres, ConnexOntario system navigation experts are trained to listen, provide support, and offer strategies to help get the process started — no matter the reason for connecting. In fact, 50 per cent of calls made are by family member or concerned friends. 

Whether you or a man in your life is struggling, finding support should be the easy part. 

To discover supporting services for mental health, addiction, and problem gambling in Ontario, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days in the year, call 1-866-531-2600 or text 247247 to speak to someone live. 

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