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Depression Therapy for Men in Ottawa & Across Ontario

depression therapy for men - first step mens therapy

Does any of this sound familiar...

✔️ Do you find it hard to get out of bed, or even motivated to get your day started?
✔️ Are you struggling with feelings of hopelessness or overwhelming sadness?
✔️ Have you found yourself distancing yourself from others and the world around you?
✔️ Have you felt suicidal or wished you were not around sometimes?

If You Struggle With Depression, You Are Not Alone

It can be incredibly debilitating and difficult to live with depression.


At times, you may wonder if there is any hope or if things will ever improve. Men are often taught or expected to power through and put on a brave face, despite how one feels inside or with what one might be struggling with. The good news is that there is hope for those who seek treatment for their depression.

Approximately one out of every 8 Canadians will struggle with depression at one point in their lives, and approximately 6% of the Canadian population is on one antidepressant medication to treat depression.


Depression often accompanies other feelings of shame, guilt, sadness, and grief.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?

The symptoms of depression vary and may include:


  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood


  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness


  • Feelings of irritability, frustration, or restlessness 


  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or shame


  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling "slowed down"


  • Difficulty concentrating, recalling, or making decisions


  • Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping


  • Noticeable changes in appetite or unplanned weight loss/gain


  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or attempts at suicide


  • Aches or pains, headaches, tension, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause that do not ease even with treatment


  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that used to bring joy


  • Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide

In order to meet the criteria for depression, these symptoms have to occur most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks. While these symptoms can be difficult to manage or struggle with, the good news is that there are options and depression therapy can be helpful for those looking to improve their overall functioning and mental health.

Men Struggle in Different Ways with Depression, and Often it Goes Unnoticed or Untreated

Overcoming Depression is Possible


While depression can be treated effectively, many men do not seek help due to stigma and shame associated with mental health issues. However, with proper treatment, depression can be managed, and individuals can lead fulfilling lives.


Therapy is an effective form of treatment for depression. There are many different types of therapy, each with its own strengths and limitations. When it comes to depression therapy for men, there are some specific considerations that need to be taken into account.

One of the most important considerations is that men often have a harder time admitting that they need help. There is still a stigma around mental health issues, and many men feel that seeking help is a sign of weakness. This can make it difficult for them to take the first step in seeking treatment. Therefore, it is important to create a safe and non-judgmental environment where men feel comfortable discussing their feelings and concerns.

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Another consideration is that men tend to have different coping mechanisms than women. For example, men may be more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with their depression. They may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors or act out in anger. Therefore, it is important to tailor therapy to meet the specific needs of men and to help them develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Types of Therapy Used for Depression

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is a type of therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating depression. CBT focuses on identifying negative thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with more positive ones. It is a structured, goal-oriented therapy that involves a set number of sessions. In CBT, the therapist works with the client to identify negative thought patterns and teaches them how to replace them with more positive ones. The client is also taught coping skills and relaxation techniques to help manage their symptoms.

Interpersonal Therapy

IPT focuses on improving relationships and communication skills. It is based on the idea that depression is often caused by difficulties in relationships, and that improving relationships can lead to a reduction in symptoms. IPT is a short-term therapy that typically lasts 12 to 16 weeks. IPT has been shown to be effective in treating depression in men. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that IPT was effective in reducing symptoms of depression in men, and that it was more effective than medication. The study also found that men were more likely to adhere to IPT than medication, suggesting that it may be a preferred form of treatment for some men.

Group Therapy

Group therapy may also be effective for depression in men. Group therapy involves a therapist working with a group of individuals who are all experiencing similar issues. The group provides a safe and supportive environment where individuals can discuss their feelings and concerns. Group therapy can be particularly effective for men, as it allows them to see that they are not alone in their struggles and to learn from the experiences of others.

understand the causes of depression at first step mens therapy

What are the Causes of Depression?

Help is available - online in Ottawa and across Ontario

The causes of depression and the risk factors for those with depression vary widely.


Brain chemistry: A chemical imbalance in parts of the brain that manages mood, thoughts, sleep, appetite, and behavior.

Hormone levels: Changes in testosterone that may cause men to experience depression due to low levels of the hormone.

Family history: Individuals with a family history of depression or another mood disorder may be at higher risk of depression.

Medical conditions: Some medical conditions such as chronic illness or pain, insomnia, Parkinson's Disease, insomnia, stroke, or cancer may put you at increased use of depression


Substance use/addiction: Individuals that are addicted to substances or behaviours tend to have higher rates of depression symptoms.

Life transitions/changes: Those who have experienced a loss or change in their life (death of loved one/loss of job/moving to a new place), particularly if there is more than one, may be at greater risk for short-term depression.

Treatment for Depression

It's important to note that treatment for depression may involve a combination of these methods, and it may take time to find the right combination that works best for an individual. It's also important to seek professional help from a mental health provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.


There are several treatment methods available for depression, including:


This is a type of talk therapy that involves working with a therapist to identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors. There are different types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), that can be effective in treating depression.

Find a therapist in Toronto who Specializes in Depression Therapy

Some men may prefer a therapist of the same gender, while others may prefer a therapist who specializes in working with men. One of the key benefits of therapy for depression is that it provides a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to express their thoughts and feelings. Men may have been taught to suppress their emotions, particularly negative emotions like sadness or fear. In therapy, men can learn to recognize and express their emotions in a healthy way. This can help them to develop a greater sense of emotional intelligence and resilience.

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Another benefit of therapy for depression is that it can help men to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Men may be more likely to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol or drugs when they are struggling with depression. Therapy can help men to identify and address these unhealthy behaviors and develop healthier ways of coping with stress and difficult emotions.

It is important for men to find a therapist who they feel comfortable with and who understands their unique needs and concerns.

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Lifestyle Changes for Overcoming your Depression

These include getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. Men may also find it helpful to develop a support network of friends and family who they can turn to for help and support.


In some cases, medication may be recommended as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for depression. Antidepressant medication can be effective in reducing symptoms of depression, particularly when used in conjunction with therapy. It is important for men to work closely with their healthcare provider to find the right medication and dosage, as well as to monitor any potential side effects.

In addition to therapy, there are some lifestyle changes that men can make to help manage their depression. Making certain lifestyle changes can play a significant role in overcoming depression. Here are some recommendations for men:

  1. Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Choose activities that you enjoy, whether it's going for a run, practicing yoga, lifting weights, or playing a sport.

  2. Healthy Diet: Nourishing your body with a balanced diet can positively impact your mental well-being. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals. Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and drinks, as they can contribute to mood fluctuations.

  3. Adequate Sleep: Prioritize getting enough sleep each night. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure your sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep. Lack of sleep can exacerbate depressive symptoms, so aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.

  4. Stress Management: Find healthy ways to manage stress, as it can worsen depression. Explore stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness practices, or engaging in hobbies and activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

  5. Social Support: Cultivate and maintain strong social connections. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or support groups. Make an effort to engage in social activities, even if it feels challenging at times. Having a support system and meaningful connections can provide a sense of belonging and help alleviate feelings of loneliness.

  6. Limit Alcohol and Substance Use: Excessive alcohol or drug use can worsen depression symptoms and interfere with the effectiveness of treatment. If you're struggling with substance use, seek professional help to address these concerns.

  7. Set Realistic Goals: Break down overwhelming tasks into smaller, manageable goals. Setting achievable objectives and celebrating your accomplishments can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of purpose and motivation.

  8. Engage in Pleasurable Activities: Incorporate activities that bring you joy and satisfaction into your daily routine. Whether it's hobbies, creative pursuits, or spending time in nature, engaging in activities that uplift your mood can provide a much-needed respite from depression.

  9. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote your overall well-being. This can include taking breaks, engaging in activities you enjoy, practicing relaxation techniques, journaling, or seeking professional help when needed


Remember, implementing lifestyle changes takes time and consistency. It's important to be patient with yourself and seek professional support if necessary. Therapy can provide guidance and assistance in developing a personalized plan to overcome depression and maintain a healthy lifestyle.


With proper treatment, including therapy, men can learn to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives. It is important for men to seek help if they are struggling with depression, and to find a therapist who they feel comfortable working with. With the right support and treatment, men can learn to recognize and express their emotions in a healthy way, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and find hope and healing.

If you live in Ontario and want help for your depression, reach out today!

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