Men’s Mental Health Matters

Ment's metal health - Fathers day

By Noah Koster
2025 UBC PharmD Candidate

Mental health struggles for men tend to stem from societal expectations and the belief that problems must be dealt with without seeking help. In fact, only about 30% of people who access mental health services in Canada are men, despite that these services can be extremely impactful. Here, we discuss some common mental health conditions, their treatments, and some of the resources available to men in the Comox Valley.


If you have noticed a depressed mood or a loss of interest in things which you would normally find pleasurable, you may be living with depression. Your doctor will evaluate symptoms like weight loss or gain without trying, insomnia, fatigue, or the reduced ability to think or concentrate before making an official diagnosis. Speaking to a healthcare professional is the first step towards recovering and there are many treatment options to address mental health.

The bottom line is that antidepressants are effective. Up to 30% more people will see a reduction in their symptoms when taking an antidepressant as opposed to using no treatment at all. Antidepressants can also be effective at reducing anxiety and improving sleep. All medications come with side effects, but as there are many treatment options, you may find one that allows you to avoid a specific side effect that you find undesirable. Keep in mind that antidepressants take some time to work. Modest improvements may be seen in as little as two weeks, but it can take 4 to 6 weeks to experience the full benefit. Finding the right antidepressants is a highly individualized process — sometimes treatments won’t work as well as expected, but physicians can adjust the dose or the medication, tailoring the treatment to what will be effective for you. The important part is to be patient and communicate to your physician and pharmacist how the treatment is working so it can be adjusted as necessary. In mild or moderate depression, a specific approach to therapy referred to as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective and can be discussed with your doctor.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise after experiencing, witnessing or learning of a traumatic event. It can also develop if there is repeated exposure to something that reminds a person of the traumatic event. PTSD manifests as recurrent intrusive memories or nightmares of the event, flashbacks, and avoiding any experiences that recall the event. PTSD can also be associated with depression, irritability, sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating, or being easily startled. Discussing symptoms with a physician is the best way to make progress towards treating the illness.

If you live with PTSD, there are options to lessen the symptoms you may be experiencing. Certain antidepressants work well on their own or with other medicines to decrease the severity of symptoms. Specific therapy approaches like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are also effective treatments for PTSD. In cases where sleep is disturbed and people have nightmares, medications such as prazosin have shown benefit in reducing the frequency of nightmares and increasing sleep time.

Comox Valley Resources

Getting started can be tough, and it can be difficult to know where to go. Below are links to specific mental health-related services and a brief description of their services to help you take the first steps to improving your mental health.

Comox Valley Mental Health and Substance Use
One access point for adults seeking mental health or substance use services in the Comox Valley. Start by walking in or phoning and they can help to connect you with appropriate services like counselling or outreach teams or provide you with a referral to another professional.

CVTS Men’s Group
Free drop-in group facilitated by counsellors who support men in facing challenges related to self, relationships, and work, as well as pressures of daily life.

Island Dads
Online, confidential group specifically for dads, which provides an opportunity for participants to share their own challenges in a peer-support setting and listen to the challenges that other fathers are facing. Facilitated by a clinical counsellor.

Crisis Lines
These are phone lines you can call during times of mental health crises.

  • 9-8-8 (call or text) – National Crisis Helpline
  • 310-6789 – BC Mental Health & Crisis Response (no area code needed)
  • 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE) – BC Suicide Prevention and Intervention Line
  • 604-872-3311 – Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line


Mental health medications play a vital role in managing various health conditions, offering relief and stability to millions worldwide. When medications are used, along with approaches such as therapy and lifestyle changes, mental health recovery is possible. Despite this, men are often less likely to seek treatment. The first step in improving your mental health is to speak with your healthcare provider who can help you start your journey towards recovery.

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