We have socialized boys from a young age to be strong, silent, competitive, and to handle their own business. We've told them that seeking help is a sign of weakness, not strength. Boys don't cry. Man Up. Power through. Rub some dirt on it. All these phrases are continuing to cause men problems. We are seeing the results of this socialization and as a society we have been slow to react. We need to start by encouraging men to talk, tell them that it is ok to get help and it is a sign of strength, not weakness.
This socialization leads men to isolation. Few friends to really open up to. Masking emotions with alcohol, drugs, risky behavior. You have to be strong, even with those closest to you. As a result, many men struggle with their mental health until they can no longer bear the pain and seek an exit. While the Canadian ratio is 3:1 male to female for completed suicide, here in our province we are at 5:1. We can do better. We will do better.
I have taken this cause to both our provincial and federal governments and am optimistic we will see some movement soon. In fact, I am more determined than ever and have taken a different approach. I have written a song called "The Lonely Man" based on the story I have heard from so many men. It resonates with males, females, young and old. It needs to be heard, awareness and discussion need to be had. We had a very successful crowd funding project and have been able to record the song in Nashville. The song is ready to be released and the story of The Lonely Man is about to be heard.
The goal of The Lonely Man Project is to open a Men's Resource Centre in our province. Men need a safe place to connect, seek help and access targeted services. Running awareness campaigns and creating an encouraging environment to help men to seek the services they need will be a huge benefit to men, their families and society as a whole. When it comes to men's mental health, we all know a guy.