Gender is an important lens to help us understand mental health and substance use problems. Men and boys may face unique challenges in talking about mental health, seeking help, and finding support in their communities. Understanding their experiences is an important part in changing the culture of seeking help and supporting men.
While mental health stigma cuts across all cultures and ethnic backgrounds, research suggests that stigma takes different forms in different communities and is compounded by cultural stereotypes surrounding ideas of masculinity and an individual’s experiences of racism and discrimination. This combination is sometimes referred to as "double stigma."
Disordered eating is often seen as a women’s and girls’ problem. But the truth is that men and boys are just as vulnerable to pressure from the media and society to have “perfect” bodies.
The following article is based on personal experience and the results of interviews with First Nation men. These individuals comprise staff with Stó:lo Nation, as well as consumers of mental health services offered through Stó:lo Nation Health Services and other community mental health centres.