Mentalk: Everyone has been there
“We’ll save lives,” says Stephen Douris, who is obviously convinced of the importance of a new men’s support group he has helped to start.
The K homme’ unique/Mentalk program is designed to provide a sounding board for men who may be sad, mad or discouraged by what life has thrown at them.
“Some of these guys are suffering from depression; some have attempted suicide,” relates Mr. Douris, a Glen Nevis resident who has set up the group with Yvan Labelle, a counsellor with the Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie.
The group meets Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Cornwall. “If there is enough interest, we would also hold meetings in Alexandria,” adds Mr. Douris.
In its message to potential members, the group organizers say, “With the help of facilitators, this men-only group will be run by you, with you and for you. You can join us at any time, in a place that is safe, where we will listen, encourage each other and offer support and guidance.”
Mentalk is meant to complement not substitute services that are designed to help peo--
ple in crisis, stresses Mr. Douris. “If we cannot help a man resolve his problems here, we will refer him to support services. But if a guy wants to come and talk, we’re here.” For more information, call Mr. Douris at 613-3611213 or 613-347-1582.
A problem shared
Free and bilingual, sessions are based on the simple adage that a problem shared is a problem solved. “Until now, there was no such a group for men in our area. For example, to qualify for anger management you need to hit somebody first. There are some things we will not talk about, such as money, your job, your socio-economic condition. There is no religion, no politics,” comments Mr. Douris. The straightforward principle is, “Everyone has been there,” observes Mr. Douris. “We all encounter troubles in our lives. What we tell the men is that they are not alone; that we have all experienced similar problems.” By providing a “place to vent,” the forum can achieve amazingly results. “We had one guy who realized that after he talked about his issue, he didn’t have a problem anymore. Everyone has been down a difficult path; we can help men take a better path,” says Mr. Douris.