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

The Mann family lived in a coach house attached to the old stables – which once stood across from where the beer bottles were found – from about 1911 to the '30s. This historical photograph shows members of the Mann family passing around a beer bottle similar to the ones found recently. (Photos courtesy Cindy MacDougall)
Cheers to history: 100-year-old beer bottles unearthed at Royal Roads University

Four bottles from Victoria Brewing Co., Silver Springs Brewery date back to early 1900s

Tighe Archer with a Winter Tree that he cut and assembled in Esquimalt High wood shop. Students in ten high school wood shops are cutting the raw materials and packaging them into kits that are delivered to Grade 3 and 4 elementary classes in the district to assemble. 
(Lindsay Johnson Photo)
Greater Victoria high schoolers cut Winter Trees for Grade 3 classes

Apprenticing carpentry students bring a little season to younger peers

Evelyn Turner, Jen Rashleigh and Steve Duck with Circular Farm and Food: Vancouver Island stand outside the Sandown Agricultural Lands, future site of the Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture. North Saanich council is considering a draft agreement with the future operators for final approval Monday. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich close to inking final agreement with Sandown operators

Future operators of Sandown Agricultural Lands have confidence in their vision

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Victoria for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

(Courtesy Saanich Police Dept.)
Police hope boot search will help find missing Saanich man

Sean Hart is known to walk for miles, with or without his boots

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Montreal Alouettes’ Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a ‘laggard’ on homophobia in sports

Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who’ve come out to teammates reported being victimized

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Information about the number of COVID-19 cases in Abbotsford and other municipalities poses a danger to the public, the Provincial Health Services Authority says. (Photo: Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)
More city-level COVID-19 data would jeopardize public health, B.C. provincial health agency says

Agency refuses to release weekly COVID-19 case counts, citing privacy and public health concerns

The opening day on Mount Washington this year was Dec. 4. Screenshot
Mount Washington opens on time, COVID-19 protocols in place

“We’re super excited - it’s been six months in the planning.”

Most Read