The men’s health issue that isn’t being talked about

Our husbands, boyfriends, grandfathers, fathers, brothers, and sons are facing a mental health issue that isn’t being talked about.

Men’s mental health

According to the 2016 “Stigma in Male Depression and Suicide: A Canadian Sex Comparison Study” done by UBC, the biggest challenge in helping men with depression and suicidal thoughts may be helping them develop ways to overcome their own worst enemy – themselves.

While it is currently reported that one in ten men and one in five women will experience depression, some speculate that this reduced rate for men could be in part due to the fact that men are less likely to report mental health issues and seek help in general.

In 2015, The Alberta Men’s Survey asked roughly 2,200 men, in 32 Alberta localities, their thoughts on personal well-being and healthy relationships. When asked, “Do men sometimes need support for their own well-being and to have healthy relationships,” nearly 96 per cent of men who responded said yes, but 76 per cent didn’t know of any available services and supports near them.

57% of men said that they would feel embarrassed seeking professional help for depression, but 21% of men also said that they are currently living with a mental health challenge

With 41 per cent of our clients being male, Calgary Counselling Centre offers a variety of male specific individual and group programs for those experiencing anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, relationship issues and domestic abuse.

According to the Alberta Men’s Survey, Alberta is ranked the third highest province when it comes to reports of intimate partner violence. Although men are often implicated into the offence, in some instances they are the ones who experience violence and are deeply affected. In addition to domestic violence, the current economic environment is taking its toll on the personal well-being and mental health of men. Men’s mental health is an issue that if ignored, can lead to them being affected by things such as gender-based violence, family violence, depression, isolation, and suicide.

Raising awareness about men’s vulnerability to mental health problems is a rising priority, but there are still barriers to reducing the stigma around male domestic abuse. This stigma has made it increasingly difficult for those experiencing abuse to come forward, leading to only 50 per cent of men self-reporting abuse over the last five years.

Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male. For those who are experiencing any form of abuse or conflict with an intimate partner or family member, it is important to know that at Calgary Counselling Centre, we have specialized programs available.

Responsible Choices for Men

This program is designed to help men who are abusive or aggressive in intimate relationships. Clients learn to be self-aware of their emotions and deal with them in a healthier manner. Positive relationships are modeled and taught in the group.

Turn for the Better

The Turn for the Better program is designed for men who have experienced abuse in an intimate relationship. The 14-week program focusses on helping those men who want to be part of a healthy relationship and a non-abusive future, men who want to change their lives for the better.

The program addresses issues of abuse in intimate relationships and offers methods of coping with its effects. The goals of the group are to help clients to recognize and understand abuse dynamics, take responsibility for their choices related to their own and their children’s well-being, and to gain confidence in their ability to co-create a healthy, abuse-free relationship.

Male Domestic Abuse Outreach Program:

Our Male Domestic Abuse Outreach Program provides counselling, advocacy, and social service referrals (housing, financial aid, legal guidance, support) to men and their families experiencing domestic abuse of all forms.

This program is adaptable. It’s flexible. And focused on each individual client. Whether it’s an informal conversation at a coffee shop or in a more traditional setting. We focus on helping men access the services to gain the support they need to change their lives for the better.

The Wilson Centre for Domestic Abuse Studies opened its doors at Calgary Counselling Centre in 2012 and has become the premier in counselling, training and research centre in North America due to its innovative approach to treatment and outstanding results. On average, 80 per cent of men who start a program through the Wilson Centre complete it – results unseen anywhere else in North America where average completion rates fall between 40 and 60 per cent.

Our specialized programs are structured to provide affordable, professional and effective counselling. Calgary Counselling Centre has no waitlist, no financial barriers, and delivers best practices in counselling, training and research. Our online article Men Experience Abuse Too is another great resource to learn more about male domestic abuse and the steps to ending an unhealthy relationship.

There is never a wrong time to seek help or support. Before clients can register for our programs, they must first have a one-on-one session with their counsellor to assess their individual case and evaluate if the program is a good fit.

To register for any of our Male Victims of Domestic Violence programs please contact Marcus Cheung by email at or by calling 403.651.8075.

To register for counselling or to learn more about our additional services, call 403-691-5991 or click here to schedule an appointment with a counsellor today.

Nick Heer