Men’s Wellness Bursary

by Alicia Harvey, Syed S. Ali and the help of Shirley Jobson (social worker)

All around the world, men are found to be more reluctant to talk about their mental health than women. According to the World Health Organization, “males die by suicide at twice the rate of females” [1].

There are many reasons why men experience difficulty in seeking help for their mental health. While awareness on the importance of mental health has grown in the past few years, men may still view mental health problems as a flaw. Consequently, this leads to trouble when speaking about their mental distress [2]

The stigma of masculine vulnerability plays a large role in this situation. From a very young age, men are encouraged to repress their feelings and to “be tough.” Thus, they avoid any attempt to legitimize psychological distress and discredit the importance of mental health. This mindset comes from old-fashioned and archaic psychology that was stressed a long time ago [1].  

Similarly, this trend can be seen in higher education and CEGEP, where men are less likely to seek resources when it comes to mental health. A solution to this problem is to promote awareness. Encouraging men to talk about their feelings, also signals to not completely shut down in moments of weakness and to search for help [3]


This year, St.Lawrence College launched multiple initiatives to encourage inclusivity and mental health awareness (especially for men’s wellness). This includes:

  • Multiple posters around the school highlighting wellness for men with staff and faculty from SLC with positive messages and a QR code that leads to a “Vibe Check” appointment page (it is a quick check-in appointment for people who have questions about certain thoughts and feelings they might be having). 
  • Men’s Wellness Day in February, where various community partners were invited to raise awareness on men’s health (fitness, eating disorders, sexual health, etc).
  • A focus group on March 30th led by 2 male members of the men’s wellness committee. This was a guided discussion on improving wellness for guys at SLC (activities, events, services). 
  • A bursary: The latter involved a two-step process of selection. First, the participants had to answer a short/long questionnaire online and among this pool of individuals. The second step involved interviewing selected individuals from the pool of participants in the first step. 


While we are on the topic of bursary, the journal had the chance to interview some of the winners (Grégoire Duchesne, Mathias Croteau and Mathias Verret) and get their opinions:

How do you feel winning one of the bursaries and what does it mean/represent to you?

G.D.: I’m not going to lie; it feels great. Looking back at the efforts I have put into my personal growth, I would never have thought it would lead me to feel like and be the person I am today. I didn’t think much of it when I applied for the bursary, but I am grateful to know that I stood out enough to have won. I feel as if it’s a kind of seal of approval in some sense that says that my efforts meant something. It’s hard to know if you’re on the right track judging all by yourself. You can always take your parent’s words for that, but deep down, we all know they’re a bit biased, aren’t they?

M.C.: Honestly, I feel really proud to be awarded this bursary. I often tend to overwork myself when a subject takes me to heart and try to do the most helpful actions I can. Whether it is by educating men about their bodies and making them confident by simply showing them that their proportions are a blessing and not a flaw or just being a good friend that is around to listen and help, I make sure that I do the most because that is what I feel my value as a person is. I understand that I am privileged to do so much for others and that some must work on themselves before being able to give to others, which is why I often feel like the actions I give mostly get unreciprocated. So this bursary is a great recognition for my efforts (even more coming from a friend that nominated me) and a motivation to continue.

M.V.: To me, winning this bursary was an utter surprise. I had not even entered to start with. This bursary, before anything else, represents how much my partner loves and thinks highly of me. She wrote over a thousand words about how she thinks I’m a kind man and how I help others, and that’s really meaningful to me. I owe it all to her. Secondly, this bursary is a means to help me pay for my education and for that reason, I’m extraordinarily grateful to everyone who made it possible.

Knowing the stigma around men’s mental health and overall wellness, what are your thoughts in general on men’s wellness in a CEGEP setting?

G.D.: To begin with, I would say that no matter who you are, good mental health is a hard thing to achieve, and now probably more than ever. I believe it is the right thing that men should not offload their stress onto others. This means two things; first, you should seek appropriate counsel relating to your situation if you ever need it because your immediate surroundings are often not qualified nor able to help you much. Second, it means that as a man, it is your responsibility to better your life. […] There are many accessible ways to help you, such as meditation, physical exercise, and books. […] I’ve heard accounts of guys feeling compelled to take on a facade of what they dreamt of being. […] You must learn to accept things that aren’t in your control and excel at the things that are. For example, it can mean accepting that your “friends” aren’t a good influence on you because they mock you and put you down. You’ve got 8 billion other potential friends out there; what are you really losing? P.S. Please take life with a grain of salt; things are often not as severe as they first appear.

M.C.: Obviously, men’s mental health has always been taboo. In my understanding, masculinity doesn’t seem to be synonymous with self-care for some people, and even if most men do not believe this, some societal stigmas seem to be stopping them from getting help, fearful of losing their value as a man. I can testify from a male family member of mine that struggled with depression that mental health resources are often not even considered as an option because it is valued as losing your sense of self. When as a man, your value as a human being is determined by how strong and resilient you are, I can understand the views of my peers. CEGEP is even harder on some men like myself. […] Patriarchy often pushed the view that the only worth of an adult man is his personal achievements. Since studies can be statistically harder for young boys as they grow up compared to girls, comparing yourself to your peers can sometimes feel undermining. I know of many men that, when faced with failure, lost their sense of self-value, and this phenomenon can also be seen in the statistics about suicide rates.

M.V.: I believe men’s mental health is often overlooked in CEGEP, which is a shame. So many guys play it off or joke about it and want to pretend like they have no emotions. I think it’s messed up how their surroundings conditioned them to think they shouldn’t be emotional and be silent. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I think those whom this does apply should get help because expressing yourself and talking about your troubles can help you feel more comfortable.

Do you have any suggestions to improve the current situation and make it more inclusive at St-Lawrence?

G.D.: It is true that men have become a minority in a higher education context. The simple solution I would have to give is to not restrict and divide activities or initiatives and just make people feel welcome. I find it difficult to say much more than that since I prefer and am better at looking at the whole of a community rather than isolating groups.

M.C.: In my opinion, inclusivity isn’t a problem at St-Lawrence for men. Never have I thought to myself, “I cannot do this simply because I am a male.” On the other hand, motivation is of great lack around the men I talk with. This seems to be due to the unrecognition of their achievements. Most of the men I discussed this matter with seemed to feel like they studied because that’s what they were supposed to do and that their good grades get unrecognized because they are supposed to be. The only way I have found to get recognition for my work is to be implicated in an organization. Lately, I have been putting a lot of effort into my job as a menswear stylist, and I love the recognition some men give me for my work on their styling projects. Honestly, this recognition is pretty much the only thing keeping me going in this hard semester. I think CEGEP would be a great place to give opportunities for men to get implicated. […]

M.V.: […] a therapist available to everyone should be essential.


[1] Cohut, Maria, Ph.D. Men’s Mental Health: ‘Man up’ Is Not The Answer. 10 Oct. 2022,

[2] Haynes, Adaline. “Why Men’S Mental Health Is Important.” Anew Era TMS & Psychiatry, 20 Sept. 2022,

[3]Men’s Mental Health.

By Lions' log

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