Getting Support

In general, guys don’t always have a very good track record of opening up and talking about our mental health. This is partly due to certain stereotypes and clichés that encourage us to keep our ‘personal issues’ to ourselves. Stereotypes about masculinity, strength, and perfection can tell us that if we seek support for our mental health, we are inferior, sick, or weak.

This is not the case.

When it comes to looking after our mental and emotional health, we gay guys have our work cut out for us. Not only are we challenged by harmful stigma and stereotypes, we also live in a world full of added stress, heterosexism and homophobia. Over the years, gay men have found ways to take care of themselves and each other; even in the face of great adversity. Gay men are resilient, strong and adaptable in their own ways; and taking time to talk to a trusted friend, counsellor, doctor or other health practitioner can increase your ability to cope with challenge, and improve your mental health!

In times of stress, anxiety, depression or relationship distress, it can feel like we are alone. Feeling like we are alone puts additional stress on our minds and can lead to problematic loops in our thinking. Mental health practitioners (counsellors, coaches, psychologists etc..) are trained to help you determine what is at the root of the problem, and offer some techniques to change how we think and feel.   It can take some courage, but finding someone to talk to can help you break the loop, and get the heavy burden off of your back. In talking to others, we can bring the problem from the inside, to the outside. We are better able to make changes if we know what is bothering us. It’s helpful to talk. It’s healthy to talk.

How it helps:
  • Counselling, and therapy can greatly reduce the risk of suicide, improve mood, reduce uncomfortable mental health symptoms and contribute to longer term mental health improvement.
  • Talking to a doctor about your mental health can be very helpful, a doctor can assist you in finding a medication, or provide you with other recommendations and referrals.
Pro-tips:
  • The main factor that makes counselling work is the relationship you form with your counsellor/therapist. Finding a counsellor that you connect with can lead to the best outcomes possible!
  • Talking to trusted friends, elders, spiritual leaders, coaches and family can be just as important as talking to a mental health or practitioner.