Do Men Face More Mental Health Stigma Than Women?

A new Canadian web series attempts to raise the awareness of the stigma surrounding men’s mental health.

men's mental health issuesphoto credit: shutterstock

Mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a health expert who would disagree. Which is why I applaud every initiative that tries to remove the stigma around mental health.

Just in time for Mental Health Week in Canada (May 1 to 7, 2017), a Toronto psychiatrist launched a poignant web series called Think You Can Shrink?

The three episode mini-series features contestants with jobs where people commonly ask for their advice, like bartenders and  hairdressers. The plot twist? The contestants will be interacting with actors portraying the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions. The episodes show how the contestants respond to the actors.

The advice given by contestants are then analyzed by a psychiatrist, an emergency room/family doctor and celebrity Rick Campanelli, co-host of ET Canada. Ultimately, the contestants response teaches views how to react in similar circumstances.

Are you giving out safe advice?

Mental health issues are widely misunderstood and stigmatized among the general public,” says the creator of the show, Dr. Thomas Ungar, an associate professor at the University of Toronto and head of psychiatry at North York General Hospital.

“I wanted to create something that goes beyond traditional health promotion. I hope that by playing with everyday pop culture like a reality show, we can help people become more comfortable with mental illness and get the help they need.”

The web series specifically highlights the stigma surrounding mental health issues common in men. “Mental health issues are particularly acute among men, who are more likely than women to try to tough it out or struggle alone,” he explains.

Gender and mental health issues

For example, men are four times more likely than women to die by suicide, which is the second leading cause of deaths of Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.

Think You Can Shrink? is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to mental health awareness. However, we are crossing our fingers for a similar series for women. Some mental health issues that are more common in women include anxiety disorders, eating disorders and depression.

Read More: What to Do When Your Partner is Depressed