HeadsUpGuys is an anonymous, online mental health resource specifically designed for men. We spoke with Josh Beharry, Project Manager, to find out more about them.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
HeadsUpGuys is an anonymous, online mental health resource specifically designed for men, and their families, to prevent the continued erosion of men’s mental health and deaths by suicide. We envision a world where men make mental health a priority, and suicide is no longer a top 5 cause of death for men of any age.
I am the Project Manager for HeadsUpGuys and have been with the project from concept, to its launch in 2015, to its current state as a website with over 2.5 million views. I share my own personal experience with battling depression on our site and hope my story can inspire other men, and let them know recovery is possible.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for men under the age of 50 in Canada – with men dying by suicide at a rate 3 times higher than women. However, this major issue, and men’s mental health in general, is often overlooked. Myths linking mental illness to weakness, and the misguided idea that men shouldn’t need to reach out for support, contribute to men’s lower rates of mental health support seeking, leading to high suicide rates and poor mental health outcomes.
HeadsUpGuys tries to dispel myths, and break down barriers between men and mental health support, providing guys with tools and inspiration they can use to overcome depression.
When did you start/join it?
I started in 2014, a year before we launched the website.
What made you want to get involved?
I have my own personal experience with depression and wanted to use my experience to help others. The prospect of working on a website that was designed to help men, like myself, seemed like a great opportunity.
What was the situation like when you started?
When I started, mainstream conversations around mental health were just beginning to take place, but it was still a very difficult topic to engage men with.
How has it changed since?
There is definitely increased public awareness of and discussion about mental health issues today. There are also many high profile men and athletes who have spoken up about their own experiences with depression and other mental health issues, spotlighting the issue and encouraging more men to reach out.
What more needs to be done?
Myths about what a ‘real man’ is, and stigma around mental health still prevent many guys from reaching out before they’re in crisis, and tragically, not even then in some cases. HeadsUpGuys is only a part of the solution, more accessible and widely available mental health services are also needed.
How can our readers help?
First, take a look over and share our resource with anyone you think it might help! Second, our operational costs are funded exclusively through the generosity of private donors. Donations are greatly appreciated and directly support our work (our team, website updates and development, ongoing advertising, as well as promotional campaigns and materials).
Do you have any events coming up?
We have a campaign going on for all of February, highlighting male musicians who have spoken out about their mental health.
Where can we follow you?
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
The Pacific Post Partum Support Society