Review Dedicated to Kirk Ackerman
Mental health issues, awareness, and destigmatization has been on the forefront social consciousness in the past few years. Mental health has also been the topic of honest discussion now more than ever in modern human history. We benefit from such services as Sask HealthLine, a confidential and free service that can be reached 24/7 at 811, community mental health services, and specific support groups related to mental health issues such as alcohol and drug addiction, problem gambling, crisis intervention, domestic violence support, and others. Despite the fact that more resources than ever exist and that the stigma of talking about mental health issues has dropped significantly, people still continue to suffer in silence from mental health battles.
Unfortunately, many of these battles are waged unknown to the world by men and boys. Due to this silence and societal and physiological factors, Statistics Canada estimates that men are three times as likely to die from suicide than women. Allan Kehler, who has an accomplished career in education and counselling, professional speaking and authoring books such as “Stepping Out of the Shadows: A Guide to Understanding & Healing from Addictions”, implores us to challenge this statistic with his brilliant new book, MENtal Health: It’s Time to Talk. This powerful read not only includes valid research and resources that all men should review but also poignant memoirs written by men from the prairies who have survived their own mental health struggles. Kehler invites a variety of male guest writers on this project to recount their experiences on topics such as addiction, surviving suicide, domestic violence, depression, and facing tragedy.
One of these guests include Chris Beaudry, the former assistant coach of the Humboldt Broncos who was present during their tragedy nearly two years ago. Reading his chapter, I had assumed that he would exclusively write on his experiences on the trauma of the crash but found that he fought mental health struggles well before. The tragedy that he faced was a catalyst towards dark places and old habits for him and it was incredibly inspiring to read his rise and his healing journey, especially considering how close he is to home. This does not just apply to Beaudry, but to all the guest writers that contributed to this work. If I had one reservation regarding this book, it would be that it does cover some very heavy topics; if you are to read it please ensure that you are in a good state of mind and evaluate your own mental health challenges.
Although uncomfortable at times, it is necessary for us to begin speaking more on men’s mental health issues for the sake of our fathers, our sons, and our brothers. Kehler invites us to expose the masculine facade of bottling our emotions as the foolish and dangerous practice that it is. This is a necessary read for all in the prairies to help us protect the men that we love in our lives.
THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM