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  • Writer's pictureMitra Bissessar

Men’s Mental Health: Don’t Suffer In Silence

Mental health stigmas for men can fester at a very young age. When a young boy misbehaves or is vulnerable, they are told to “Toughen up, don’t cry” or “Act like a man”. This approach can make it hard for young boys growing up to acknowledge, accept their thoughts and feelings, leaving them a small bank of emotions to draw from. We believe males to be capable of joy, sadness and anger but it’s a challenge to welcome feelings of hopelessness, anxiousness and depression.





Mental health issues can impact our well-being and overall health regardless of gender. Still today, men are less likely to seek treatment and support when compared to women. The suicide rate for men is three times greater than that of women. Ignoring our mental health is killing us and needs to change.


For those experiencing stigmas, it can feel like shame, discrimination, feelings of being lesser than. Fears of being treated or seen differently. A person struggling with depression may be labeled as lazy or moody. Someone experiencing anxiety may be encouraged to “suck it up”. Ignoring issues like mental health, substance abuse and conflict in relationships only intensifies the conditions experienced. Even with our loved ones it’s hard to acknowledge the issue(s), especially for men.


We are at a time where we know how beneficial speaking to the professional practitioners in our lives can be for us, essential for our survival. Let’s take care of our minds like we do our bodies.


The conversation around men and mental health will not get better until we make it better. Vulnerability encourages vulnerability. Being vulnerable is truly courageous. The more we normalize men talking to other men about their feelings, fears, anxieties, depression, trauma, grief the further we get away from the fears stigma inflicts on us as a gender.


When you think of the future of men, think of connection and support. Imagine our workplaces, communities, institutional systems as being safe spaces, stigma free.


You can start off slowly, identify your safe spaces, your existing natural supports. Those who will meet you with compassion and connection. Connecting with a licensed therapist can further lighten your burden, while holding space for your angst. You may want to meet with a man or woman, trust your instincts. Your fears of judgment and disapproval would be met with acceptance and attention.


This may not resonate with you today and that makes sense. When you experience the things you don’t want happening in your life anymore, act on it. Seek support, natural and/or professional and challenge yourself to be vulnerable. Be seen, heard, supported, be done with the silence.


Mitra Bissessar, MSW, RSW



 


As a Registered Social Worker and a child of Trinidadian immigrant parents, I know how hard it is to reach out for help, for fears of not being understood and accepted without compromising your essence.

I want to reassure you that I approach my practice from a client centered, holistic approach to meet my clients’ where they are at. I have over fifteen years of front-line experience as a Child and Youth Worker in various community and counselling settings including schools, residential, day treatment, Children’s Aid Society as well as supporting youth and caregivers in their homes.

As a Registered Social Worker, I provide treatment for severe mental health, trauma, anxiety, depression, caregiver/family support, and difficult life transitions. My goal as a therapist is to establish a meaningful, collaborative, and trusting therapeutic relationship in which you feel respected, heard, and safe to explore your concerns.

I am experienced in offering individual and family therapy to various age groups and populations. My practice is trauma-informed where I integrate evidence-based models, including but not limited to emotion focused, attachment, cognitive-behavioural, solution-focused, psychodynamic, and mindfulness-based therapy. I work from a client-focused and culturally-sensitive framework. As an immigrant, person of colour who has overcome battles of my own, I recognize the role that intersectionality plays in our mental well-being.

I understand how daunting it can be to reach out for help and tackle the cultural or faith-based stigmas surrounding therapy. I realize that seeking support can be a difficult step. I am here to help you feel comfortable with your decision in the context of a warm, trusting, professional and accessible service - regardless of complexity.



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