Break the Silence on Men’s Mental Health and Substance Use

Note: B.C. is facing two public health emergencies as of March 2020. This article provides information and support about the overdose emergency. Find up-to-date information about the COVID-19 health emergency through the BC Centre for Disease Control. Download the BC COVID-19 Support app for emerging information and a self-assessment tool.


At least one in five British Columbians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. This number cuts across all walks of life: friends and family; co-workers and classmates; buddies, bros and teammates.

The good news is that there are services and supports available to help deal with and overcome mental health challenges. Still, many of the people affected don’t reach out for help.

Talk it out, don’t tough it out

For guys, this sometimes happens because they feel pressure to hide how they’re feeling. They may take pride in appearing strong and worry that asking for help shows weakness.

But, as former BC Lions quarterback Travis Lulay says, opening up is the bravest thing you can do.   

Growing up, a lot of the time we were told that was what it looked like to be a man. You tough it up, you walk it off, you find a way to deal with it. But I think there’s a ton of strength in being able to be vulnerable. It takes a lot of courage.

Sharing the load isn’t showing weakness. It’s smart, responsible, and brave. And it starts with having courageous conversations.


Taking strong steps to reduce stigma

This kind of courage comes in many forms. It might be letting a buddy know you could use someone to talk to or checking in with a guy at work who hasn’t been himself lately.

It could be contacting a support provider for professional assistance. Or even just having the strength to tell yourself that something needs to change.

Each of these small gestures has a huge impact in starting important dialogue around mental health and breaking down barriers of stigma that keep people from getting the help they need.

Because nobody deserves to suffer alone, and nobody should feel silenced by shame. It’s always better to talk it out than tough it out.

Hear more from BC Lions alumnus Travis Lulay on reducing stigma around mental health.

Ways to manage your mental well-being

Check out practical ways and personal steps to help manage your mental health and take care of yourself.

Professional support services can treat mental health issues in different ways. Learn more about some of the options that are available.