MenTALK – K homme’unique wins the ACSM Annual Mental Health Service Award

CORNWALL | On June 21st, at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Champlain East annual general meeting, Ivan Labelle, Community Health Worker at Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie (CSCE), and Stephen Douris, founders of MenTALK – K homme’unique, a support group for men, received the Annual Mental Health Service Award. This award was presented to them in recognition of their commitment and significant contribution to men’s mental health movement in our community.

In working to ensure men do not continue to suffer in silence, Labelle and Douris face a big challenge; evidence indicates that, while men and women suffer from mental health issues equally, men are less likely to get the help they need. Furthermore, when men do look for help, they have a hard time finding the right kind of therapy. Men tend to prefer informal, action-based or group-based services rather than one-on-one talk sessions but these kinds of services are not readily available, especially in small communities.

Labelle and Douris found out that with a space and the right environment, men are more than willing to open up on how they feel. The group began with just a few members and have since grown to over 50 registered members. MenTALK – K homme’unique is changing lives one person at a time. They also are now looking to expand in other communities as the need for this service continues to grow.

Fight Stigma About Mental Health

Why are men less likely than women to get help dealing with mental health problems? Experts say societal pressure is a big factor. Canadian men are about three times more likely to experience addiction and substance abuse — including alcohol, cannabis and opioids — than women. Men also account for more than 75 percent of suicides in this country.

Men are not alone in suffering from the stigma attached to mental health but they may be reluctant to discuss their problems or seek help because of how they were conditioned. As a society, it is important to work together to fight stigma about mental health and encourage people to talk openly about their problems. The more comfortable we are talking about it, the better our society will be.

For more information about MenTALK – K homme’unique, please contact Ivan Labelle at 613-937-3132 ext. 232.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Champlain East (source):

Stephen Douris and Ivan Labelle

Angele D’Alessio (CMHA), Stephen Douris, Ivan Labelle, Joanne Ledoux-Moshonas (CMHA) and Angela Warren (CMHA)

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