Mentalk: Ev­ery­one has been there

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - -- Richard Ma­honey

“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.

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