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.

Just Posted

Swanwick Ranch in Metchosin, featuring an award-winning home on 67 acres of property overlooking the ocean, recently sold for a record-setting, yet undisclosed amount. (Sotheby’s International Realty Canada photo)
Sale of oceanfront property in Metchosin yields new record for Greater Victoria

Listed at $14.1 million, Swanwick Ranch sold to an undisclosed buyer

The number of skilled trades workers available is not enough to fill the current construction boom in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Influx of skilled tradespeople falling behind Greater Victoria construction boom

Thousands of positions will be needed by 2030, despite flow of Camosun trades students

The price of gas is way up in many parts of Greater Victoria after a Monday afternoon surge sent it to 162.9 cents per litre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gas prices surge to 162.9 cents a litre at some Greater Victoria stations

Prices jumped up more than 10 cents Monday afternoon

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Colwood council is looking at potential summer weekend closures to traffic of a section of Ocean Boulevard at Esquimalt Lagoon, to allow for more of a park-like setting during summer events such as the popular Eats & Beats event, shown here in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Mayor lobbying for summer weekend closures of beachfront Colwood roadway

Rob Martin to bring motion forward to June 28 council meeting

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Most Read