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)

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

Just Posted

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

Millstream Village is welcoming a new Marshalls location March 9. (Photo courtesy GWL Realty Advisors)
New Marshalls store in Langford brings boost to women in need

Retailer will hold opening ceremony in Millstream Village March 9

Abstract Developments is donating $75,000 to support community programming at The Cridge Centre for the Family. (Courtesy of The Cridge Centre)
Victoria developer builds support for community programs

Abstract Developments donates $75,000 to The Cridge Centre for the Family

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read