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Mental health is a significant concern among rural men, although it remains a largely silent crisis.
Rural men are more likely to attempt and die from suicide than urban men, and this likelihood goes up with increased isolation and rurality. Men often suffer in silence and are less likely to seek help for their mental health issues in fear of being judged. It is important to address the current issue and advocate for the mental health of rural men.
Here are a couple tips for mental wellness and strategies for positive coping mechanisms, specifically for this population.
 Journaling. Journaling is not only for women. In fact, back in the day, writing in a journal was a ‘manly’ thing to do. All the great explorers, writers and thinkers routinely wrote in a journal. That being said, journaling does not require you to be the next Ernest Hemingway.
The purpose of journaling is to physically write your thoughts, emotions and experiences on paper. Journaling is about you and you make the rules and define your own process. Writing is a great alternative for men who do not feel comfortable talking to a stranger. Particularly for men who have been brought up to be stoic, and hide their feelings; writing a simple entry once in a while can help you manage stress and improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
For more benefits of journaling for men check out: Journals For Men: 8 Reasons Every Man Needs A Journal
 Get moving. Exercise provides you with some much needed YOU time. It has been shown to improve mental health in that it improves mood, and can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Exercise also helps prevent chronic disease, which is associated with a worsening of mental wellness. Did you know that the majority of rural US men fail to meet physical activity guidelines and are at risk for chronic diseases? So, get moving and you will not only improve your physical health but your mental wellbeing as well!
 Sleep. Although getting enough Z’s may be harder than hunting down a 400lb White Tailed Deer, it is extremely important for your mental health. There is a significant relationship between mental health and sleep. Having a good night’s sleep on a regular basis can help you feel more energetic throughout the day, improve your ability to cope with daily stressors, and reduce the likelihood of feeling stressed and worried.
For more information about how sleep relates to mental health check out: Sleep and Mental Health.
 You don’t have to tough it out on your own. Men are often expected to be strong, self-reliant, and stoic. These roles and expectations placed on men can be extremely harmful. It enforces the idea that men should not speak openly about their emotions, which results in internalizing problems, and will often make things worse. It is important to recognize that talking about your emotions and mental health does not make you less ‘manly’.
Whether it is your partner, friend or a counsellor, it is important to learn how to speak up and ask for help when you are suffering from mental health issues. You don’t have to go through it alone!
 Find positive coping mechanisms. Everyday life can get pretty hectic and busy at times. Be sure to find positive coping mechanisms that work for you. This can include finding activities you enjoy such as going for a walk outside, reading, exercising, or spending time with friends and family.
Negative coping mechanisms include using alcohol and drugs in order to cope. Many people drink alcohol, or using recreational drugs is a way to have fun or relax, but many can find themselves abusing these substances, and using them as an unhealthy coping mechanism. Be mindful of your behaviours and try to work positive coping mechanisms into your life to improve your overall mental health.
For more information about coping mechanisms check out Coping Mechanisms: Dealing with Life’s Disappointments in a Healthy Way.