From long workdays to challenges on the home front or a falling out with one of the guys, many different things can cause stress and negatively impact your mental health. When you’re stressed, it can be tough to talk about it with friends and family. It also can be tough to work through it on our own. 

Living outside of the city has its advantages. But at times, it can be isolating, especially if you’re facing challenges and need a safe place to talk. Sometimes you need to vent or talk through a specific problem you’re facing, but you also don’t want everyone and their dog to know your business. Where can you go if you don’t feel comfortable sharing some of your stressors with your family or close friends?

Support groups for rural men are a good option for like-minded men to interact. It’s a place where men can be accepted and not judged as well as get some advice from folks outside of their usual group:

Online support groups

Making the commute in for a weekly meeting might not be something you have time for, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit out on support groups entirely. There are online groups for men where you can either drop-in or regularly attend, like:

Canadian Centre for Men and Families (CCMF) Men’s Support Group

With weekly meetings on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm PST, the CCMF’s new online support group is a place for you to get your thoughts out about things going on with your family and work or any struggles you may be facing. 

It’s a safe, online space to share your stories and to get information on tools to work through those day-to-day worries.

Do More Agricultural Foundation

Farm life can be challenging, which is something other farmers know all too well. If you’re looking for a confidential place to vent your farming frustrations with folks who live and breathe the farming life, check out the Do More Agricultural Foundation. They have weekly meetings on Wednesdays called “Talk It Out.” Here you will have the opportunity to have your questions answered by a mental health professional.

In-Person support groups

rural men talking in a support group outside

If you’re the type of guy who needs to get out of the house and maybe even get your hands dirty to process what you’ve got going on, here are some in-person support groups for you to check out:

ManKind Project Canada

With five chapters across BC (including groups in Prince George and Nanaimo), ManKind Project British Columbia Canada offers free, confidential support groups for men focused on collaboration and community. The project has five chapters in BC, including Prince George and Nanaimo. It’s a space for regular guys to get things off their chest, talk about what’s going on, and get access to tools to work through what’s on their minds.

ManKind’s meetings are currently being held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic but are typically held in person.

DUDES Club

Support, cultural competence and connection are at the core of DUDES Club. They’ve created a participant-led community for men with club activities that focus on Indigenous ways of knowing, relationships and engagement in healthcare.

Clubs are open to anyone who identifies as a man, with significant ties to Indigenous populations. There are 42 locations, 29 of which are on-reserve and 7 of which are in urban areas here in BC. Visit their website to learn more.

Men’s Sheds

Men’s Sheds has support groups for men across BC (and Canada), including Fraser Lake, Hope/Chilliwack, Oliver, Pemberton, Squamish, Vanderhoof and Vernon. Their groups—which work around an activity like woodworking, playoff-watching, cooking, and more—are a great opportunity to meet with other guys when you’re feeling isolated and alone; and find support from those in a similar boat. 

Sheds are productive, hands-on, and community-building. There are no rules, no uniforms, and no expectations. Come as you are, build something, and chat with other local guys.

Dad’s support groups

Rural dad with toddler

Whether a working dad, stepdad, single dad, soon-to-be dad, or anything in between, parenting comes with stress no matter what role you play in your family’s team. And sometimes, you just need to get something off of your chest—or even get a little advice from other dads.

You can keep an eye out in your community for local support groups for dads. Meetup or Eventbrite are good places to start! You can also check out these two groups:

Dad.Work – Men’s Group for Conscious Dads – Langley

Dad.Work is a space for honest conversations about parenthood amongst other Fraser Valley dads. Meet-ups focus on community, learning about yourself as a dad, understanding your daily triggers, and working on tactics to connect with your kids to make their lives better in the long run. 

If you are into, or even mildly intrigued by, mindfulness, meditation and the like, get in touch with these guys in the Langley area.

Dad Life Vernon

It all started when a local dad noticed a dad gap in the local support group offerings. Today, Dad Life Vernon is a great place for dads in the Okanagan, or new to the area, to connect over a beer or a coffee.

The group provides a space to get those parenting escapades, episodes and experiences out on the table for support and to find common ground. Join their Facebook group to find out about upcoming meet-ups.

Resources to get you started

If you’re not sure where to start, both the Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit and Anxiety Canada have useful resources and information to help point you in the right direction. 

Have you heard of any men’s support groups in your area of BC? Let us know in the comments below.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at +1 (833) 456-4566 any time day or night, or chat online.

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