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Heads Up Guys: A Mental Health Resource for Men


Heads Up Guys…

by Marci Zoretich


Talking about our mental health isn’t easy for anyone.  We second guess ourselves. We fear stigma and social isolation and we are embarrassed at our ability to cope.

For men experiencing a mental illness crisis many choose to try and cope silently. In Canada, 840,000 men a year are affected by depression.  A study by UBC researcher, Dr. John Oliffe, shows that men suffering depression “…tend to think of themselves as a burden to other people and a disappointment.”

This study also shows that men are less likely to seek treatment for their depression due to these feelings of inadequacy.

The fact is, when depression rears its head many of us don’t know what steps to take to help ourselves or our loved ones.

Here is what we do know:

We know that depression CAN be debilitating.

We know that depression CAN happen to anyone, regardless of gender

and we all know that untreated depression CAN lead to suicide.

Statistics tell us that when men attempt suicide, they are more likely to be successful.


Heads Up Guys

Out of studies like the aforementioned, has emerged HeadsUpGuys : a mental health support site that is “FOR men, ABOUT men” and aimed at breaking down barriers for men needing help with depression and suicidal thoughts.

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HeadsUpGuys is the brainchild of Dr. John Oliffe and Dr. John Ogrodniczuk, UBC researchers and experts in men’s mental health.  These co-network leads pitched the idea of creating a multi-project men’s depression and suicide network to the Movember Foundation.  Their proposal was accepted, and includes a men’s depression website that has become HeadsUp Guys.

Their goal is simple: support men in their fight against depression by providing tips, tools, and information about professional services.  They also want to break down the harmful stereotypes preventing men from seeking treatment. They do this by providing a well-organized website that offers practical information on the symptoms and risk factors for depression and how to combat it.  Men are able to perform a “self-check” with a depression screening tool and can then move to a “Take Action” page that provides options for treatment.

“Ideally, the website would help convince a man to improve his health or seek support for depression before it worsens.” writes Joshua Beharry, Project Coordinator. “The site has lots of inspirational stories and tips aimed at helping guide men throughout their fight against depression (prevention, management and recovery).”

The “You’re Not Alone” page is indeed one of the most poignant and effective parts of the website.  Men tell their stories of recovery through a series of videos which are both relatable and emotionally accessible.


While the site does not provide direct referrals to counsellors and mental health professionals, it does give clear and concise information on the different choices available to men looking for help.

It also provides information for supporters who may be concerned about a man they know.

HeadsUpGuys is a great resource to share within your community.  Please help spread the word and break down the stereotypes that stop men from seeking the help they need.

For more information on this project and ways to get involved, please visit the HeadsUpGuys Community.



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