The Executive Director of the Do More Ag Foundation says a virtual mental health session for men that was held earlier this month was a great one.
The event, called “Bro Talk — Breaking the Silence” was held on November 16th and hosted by Shawn Brook, president of Seed World Group.
Megz Reynolds says it also had farmer and comedian Quick Dick McDick, former bull rider Kyle Stewart and mental health clinician Shawn O’Grady participate.
“We were really looking to have everyone be open and be vulnerable, share stories, talk about their connection to mental health, why they’re there, why they were wanting to make sure they’re part of the conversation and then talking about what they’ve done in their lives to help support their own mental wellness,” Reynolds said of the goal of the session. “The feedback we got from it was really great because it highlighted those faces you can look to and say ‘Hey, I’m like that person.’ Them being open and vulnerable and through that really letting others know it’s okay to talk about stuff.”
She says engagement from participants was pretty good.
“We had some great questions come in – either be sent anonymously or thoughts and questions in the group chat,” she said and adds a recording of the session is available on the Do More Ag YouTube Channel.
A couple of points stood out to Reynolds during the session; one was the idea that a person had to drink a certain amount of alcohol before its considered “safe” or “comfortable” to start a conversation with “guy friends”.
“We do know that sometimes alcohol is used as that negative coping mechanism, or as a way that guys feel comfortable – and girls too – getting together to have conversations, instead of just calling someone up and saying ‘Hey, can we go for a walk; can we go for a coffee; I got something on my mind I want to chat about.’ Needing to feel like we need maybe that courage to be able to have that conversation.” Reynolds added.
Another was around self-criticism and how we criticize and blame ourselves for things that may be out of our control or when things go wrong. She says Quick Dick McDick addressed this topic by sharing his experiences with dealing with similar situations.
“That’s been part of how he has been using social media and his videos where all the things that happen that you don’t want to happen – your herd is out or your truck breaks down – whatever happens; and for him he said it’s been a great way to make a video about like ‘Ah, crap, this has happened’ instead of internalizing it and beating himself over, using that internal language saying ‘I should be a better farmer and this wouldn’t happen’ which isn’t true, that stuff happens all the time, but it was such an important piece to talk about.”
She also says this month was a great time to hold this virtual session given November is dedicated to awareness about men’s health.