Gay men often face many health needs and issues that differ from the rest of the population.
Growing up in the closet and dealing with its residual effects, bearing the brunt of homophobic attitudes or attacks, feeling alienated by heterosexism ingrained in social relations, dealing with internalized homophobia, working through coming out—all take their toll on the psyche and emotions.
The Vancouver gay men’s organization Health Initiative for Men takes a holistic approach. While it has a Sexual Health Centre, runs exercise classes, and has social and discussion groups, it also addresses mental and emotional health.
While sexual taboos have been tackled by awareness campaigns in addressing issues like sexually transmitted infections, negative associations still linger when it comes to mental health. Depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health issues often remain misunderstood or stigmatized in society in general.
What’s more, men have traditionally been discouraged from talking about emotions or sharing personal issues, and are often encouraged to deal with things on their own.
Consequently, HIM is launching a campaign called Take Time For Your Mind to remind gay men about HIM’s various mental and emotional health resources that are available. And what’s even more amazing is that most of them are free !
If you are a gay man who is facing challenges and wants helps, there are three different types of resources you can consider.
If you feel like no one can hear you, or you want someone to listen to you without judgment and without diagnosing you, HIM Peer Support might be suitable. Peer Support volunteers are trained in listening skills and remaining nonjudgmental. It’s also completely confidential.
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