Rightly or wrongly, I’ve come to believe that, at least in Canada, awareness-raising activities promoting men’s mental health have been sorely lacking in this country. We know that signs and symptoms of mental illness tend to manifest themselves differently in men, but there seems to be very little action with respect to communicating these differences so that men may recognize when they are in need of help.
That’s why I have invited the City of Ottawa to officially proclaim June 10 as Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Ottawa. The timing of the Proclamation would coincide with International Men’s Health Week, which takes place annually the week leading up to and including Fathers’ Day.
A draft Proclamation text (see below) has been submitted to the City of Ottawa for consideration. The goal is to raise awareness of how signs and symptoms of mental health conditions may present themselves differently in men, and to normalize conversations about mental health issues to reduce the stigma that often prevents men from seeking help. Residents are being encouraged to wear a green shirt on that day, to show their support.
On the evening of June 10th, in my capacity as founder of The Men’s D.E.N., I will be hosting Breaking Down Barriers for Beards, an information session on men and depression. Sponsored in part by my local City Councillor Bob Monette, the session will run from 7 to 9 p.m. at 255 Centrum Blvd, room 340, in Orléans. Interested participants are asked to RSVP by June 6, 2014 by e-mail to TheMensDEN@bell.net.
Stay tuned for what I’m confident will be positive news about my home community proclaiming the first (annual?) Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Ottawa. Meanwhile, I encourage you to use #MMHAD14 on Twitter to promote this cause.
Submitted to the City of Ottawa on May 14, 2014
MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY
June 10th, 2014
WHEREAS, International Men’s Health Week is celebrated annually the week leading up to, and including, Fathers’ Day; and
WHEREAS, an estimated one in five men will experience a mental health issue this year, and men are up to four times more likely than women to die by suicide as a result of mental health issues; and
WHEREAS, raising awareness of signs, symptoms and prevalence of mental health conditions helps to reduce the social stigma that prevents many men from seeking the treatment they need; and
WHEREAS, all Ottawans are encouraged to engage in and promote activities supporting the overall health and well-being of our city’s residents;
THEREFORE, I, Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa, do hereby proclaim June 10th, 2014 Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Ottawa.