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Courage to feel and heal: Men’s mental health matters 

When a fear of stigma stopped Hassaan from getting help for his social anxiety, he found himself in a dark depression. He says his story isn’t unique. “I’ve seen first-hand how unspoken mental health challenges have also affected my friends and peers.” 

Fueled by a desire to reduce stigma and advocate for men getting the help they need and deserve, Hassaan joined CMHA’s National Council of Persons with Lived Experience (NCPLE). Now sharing his story, Hassaan hopes to change this all-too-common experience. “If I can help even just one person, or inspire one person to seek help, it’s worth it.” 

In a 2020 survey, 22.8% of men in Canada reported their mental health as poor or fairi. Despite the obvious need for support, Hassaan believes one of the biggest obstacles preventing men from seeking help is rooted in society’s toxic views of what a man is and who a man should be. “Men are meant to be unrealistically strong, independent, and emotionless.” It’s this stereotype that keeps men from seeking help and accessing mental health servicesii. Hassaan shares how he’s doing his part to change this narrative and lead by example. “I’m open about my therapy. I mention it in passing with my friends and family to normalize it.”  

However, he wasn’t always this open about his mental health. When he first started struggling, Hassaan wouldn’t even talk to his closest friends because of fear of judgement for showing emotions and appearing weak. “Men’s friendships can often be superficial –we don’t always turn to each other for emotional support.” The good news is, 7 in 10 men report having someone they can always or often count on; these are the people men can turn to when they’re struggling. iii  

Another barrier Hassaan sees for men from seeking help is a lack of male mental health professionals. “Relatively speaking, I’ve had a good experience with therapy, but finding a good match was challenging due to limited [availability of] male therapists.” Hassaan has found it helpful to work with a male therapist in his journey; someone to connect with and relate to.  
When asked how friends, family, and communities can better support the mental health needs of the men in their lives, Hassaan emphasized the importance of gently approaching the topic, prioritizing trust building, and honestly sharing how you’re doing first. “It shows them that if my friend feels safe sharing with me, then I can feel safe sharing with them.” Hassaan also believes in the importance of educating yourself about mental health and the warning signs that someone might be struggling, some of which are uniquely presented in men. 

Some warning signs include: 

Of the estimated 4,000 suicide deaths in Canada each year, close to 75 percent are men.iv By learning and recognizing the warning signs, you can help the men in your life get the help they need. 
Help is available: 

Hassaan is 24 years old and works in communications and knowledge translation at Inclusion Canada. He’s working towards a master’s degree in counselling with the hope of becoming a therapist and pursuing his passion to help men with their mental health.

If you or someone you love is struggling, please contact your local CMHA. 9-8-8 is for anyone who is thinking about suicide, or who is worried about someone they know. Connect to a responder to get help without judgement. Call or text 9-8-8 toll-free, anytime for support in English or French. Call 9-8-8 (toll-free, 24/7) or text 9-8-8 (toll-free, 24/7). For more information, visit

i Statistics Canada. (2021). Canadians’ Mental Health Public Use Microdata File (2020) 
ii McKenzie, S. K., Oliffe, J. L., Black, A., & Collings, S. (2022). Men’s experiences of mental illness stigma across the lifespan: a scoping review. American journal of men’s health16(1), 15579883221074789. 
iii Having someone to count on by gender and province ( 
iv Men’s Mental Health and Suicide in Canada. (