Ryan Painter, SD61 school trustee and mental health advocate, has launched a website called This Man Cries, with resources and blog posts addressing men’s mental health issues. Last week he launched a Kickstarter aimed at raising money for a merchandise, which would ultimately go back into local mental health resources like the Men’s Trauma Centre. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Victoria advocate hopes to break down barriers perpetuated by ‘toxic masculinity’

SD61 trustee Ryan Painter launches men’s mental health initiative

Ryan Painter wants men to get in touch with their feelings.

The Greater Victoria School District (SD61) trustee’s new mental health initiative, This Man Cries, connects men and boys to mental health resources and fosters an environment where men are free to feel and express the emotions they were taught to suppress.

“I was taught, ‘men don’t cry, be strong, be tough,’” Painter says. “But I was always an emotional kid, I was always a sensitive kid. I’m still sensitive.”

READ ALSO: 1/3 of Canadian men won’t share their feelings for fear of being ‘unmanly’: report

Painter has long been an advocate for mental health, pushing for LGBTQ rights and mental health awareness. It was during his mental health work that Painter kept coming across startling statistics, like the fact that suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadian males 15 to 44 years old, or numbers showing how many more men die from opioid overdoses.

“I was thinking, ‘what is it that’s causing this?’ And I think a lot of it really boils down to toxic masculinity,” Painter says. “We don’t feel like we have a way to speak out or really anyone to talk to [and] that leads to mental health problems later in life and then toxic masculinity reinforces men not to show those emotions – except for anger – and that can be hugely devastating.”

The This Man Cries website includes a page of local mental health resources and a blog with topics such as “Six things you never say to someone with depression” and “Ten differences between worry and anxiety.”

Last week Painter launched a Kickstarter campaign with an aim to raise $1,000 by early January to start a ‘This Man Cries’ merchandise line. “Through those sales I can start feeding off percentages of my growth sales to local mental health organizations like the Men’s Trauma Centre,” he says.

READ ALSO: Welcome to mustache season: Movember begins

While he admits that pre-Christmas might not be the best time to start asking for money, Painter says the site’s kickoff coincided with Movember, a month-long global awareness and fundraising campaign aimed at improving men’s physical and mental health.

And ultimately, Painter has the same goals. The Victoria advocate wants to help break down the walls that cause men to keep their emotions locked up.

“What does it mean to be emotional? To me, it means to cry. I cry a lot, I let it out. I’m not ashamed to say that,” he says. “We have to break down those barriers and allow men to speak out and speak up about their emotions.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Laid-off hotel workers demanding the right to return to work at Victoria protest

Businesses in accommodation and food sector report laying off 80 per cent of workforce

Sooke homeless camp to stay until a solution is found

To forbid Ed Macgregor camp would go against Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canadians with disabilities disproportionately hit by COVID-19 pandemic

More than four out of 10 British Columbians aged 70 and up have various disabilities

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

96-year-old woman scales B.C. butte with help of family, friends

‘I did as I was told and I enjoyed every minute of it’

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 exacerbated B.C.’s drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Officials say isolation, toxic drug supply, CERB, contributing to crisis

Camping offers a great pandemic escape, for less money than you might think

But for many first-timers, knowing what to bring can be a challenge

Turbulence in Canadian opinion on airlines COVID-19 response: poll

Thousands of people have beseeched Transport Minister Marc Garneau to compel airlines to issue refunds,

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Most Read