FORT MCMURRAY (660 NEWS) – The Canadian Mental Health Association – Wood Buffalo wants you to ‘Buddy Up’.
The campaign was developed by the Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary and is being promoted locally by CMHA – Wood Buffalo. ‘Buddy Up’ is an initiative created by men, for men to encourage them to have real and meaningful conversations with other men in their lives about their mental health.
“Men have a suicide rate that’s three times higher than women,” said Mike Jones with CMHA – Wood Buffalo, adding that men are often told to hide their feelings and “toughen up”.
Jones said the stigma around mental health has gotten better in recent years, but it can still be a tough and awkward thing to bring up. The ‘Buddy Up’ program encourages discussions between all men in your life.
“Maybe it’s a guy that you work with, maybe it’s a guy that you see on the bus when you’re driving into site every day,” said Jones. “It might not be somebody that you are necessarily best friends with but perhaps you could make a connection and you could potentially save a life.”
Jones said Fort McMurray has a large male population and unique stressors which made it important to bring the ‘Buddy Up’ campaign to the area.
“Not only because of the work sites and the workers that come from all over, but people are still dealing with insurance and issues from the fire, people are still dealing with insurance and the loss of property from the flood,” Jones said.
Furthermore, the downturn in the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic have added to the anxiety for many, said Jones.
More details on the ‘Buddy Up’ campaign can be found HERE.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the SOS 24-hour crisis line in Fort McMurray at 780-743-4357 or the National hotline at 1-800-565-3801.