Disclaimer: this article is written as an opinion piece and is not a replacement for a professional referral or medical advice. Rainbow Salad suggests this as a good starting point to discuss potential treatments or resources with your physician or other health care provider.
The first week of May (May 4-10, 2020) marks the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) mental health week, a time to openly discuss and educate ourselves on mental health issues and initiatives. In honour of this, we would like to share a new mental health initiative geared towards guys into guys (G2G) – gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, and/or men who have sex with men—goodhead.ca.
Goodhead.ca is a valuable new resource that acts to educate, destigmatize, and create a dialogue about G2G and mental health. When exploring mental health resources, it can be hard to know where to start, what resources are right for you, and what resources are accessible—goodhead.ca helps with all of that. The website acts as a starting point for those who are looking to work on their own mental health or to educate themselves.
The website does a good job of approaching various topics from an unbiased, no shame approach. It provides historical context and discusses various mental health pressures, as well as other stressors unique to G2G, all without adding to the stigma and judgement that often surrounds these discussions. Goodhead.ca encourages folks to reflect on their actions and coping mechanisms but does so in a non-judgemental way; in fact, it encourages readers to abandon learned stigma while approaching these reflections.
Goodhead.ca also acknowledges intersectional identities and the impact that being part of a marginalized group has on one’s mental health. It’s refreshing to see the extra thought and care that went into this initiative, acknowledging the mental health struggles of G2G beyond and in combination with their sexual identity. So often, people of colour and gender nonconforming folks are left out of these initiatives; however, goodhead.ca assures they are given a place in the conversation.
When navigating the website, it feels like any possible question you could have is concisely answered. For questions they may not have the exact answer to, they provide other valuable resources to help users as much as possible. They also recognize that not all folks want the same things out of mental health services and provide information on various types of mental health care options and professionals.
A surprising, yet key feature, of this site is the section that prepares folks who are ready to access services. It provides questions to ask yourself before and after accessing services, as well as questions to ask service providers to ensure they are a good fit. This is such an important addition as so often we may not feel equipped to access or navigate the services when provided with information, which leads to users not reaching out when they made need it most.
Overall the Goodhead.ca initiative provides a valuable and necessary resource for G2G. It acts as an inclusive resource, acknowledging varying identities, and acts as a good tool for mental health education. While being aimed at G2G, navigating the site can be a good tool for educating yourself as an ally as well.
With increasingly challenging times, we hope this initiative is found by those who need it. Stay safe and take care of yourselves.