Spokepersons and experts
All-Star Middle Linebacker, Shea Emry, one of the fiercest and nastiest players in the Canadian Football League is now tackling men’s mental health. After being sidelined with an injury in 2011, Emry found himself battling trials of the past. Negative self-talk, isolation and an intensifying self-consciousness drew him back into the depressive state he had known as an adolescent when he was the victim of extreme childhood bullying. After years of upholding the machismo standards of masculinity in professional sport and immersed in a culture that expects men to mask their feelings, Emry recognized that the toxic silence of manliness was affecting others. He began using his platform in professional sport to share his story with youth, inspiring self-care and conversation about wellness and mental health. He also became an official ambassador for MOVEMBER: Canada’s mental Health campaign, Bell’s Let’s Talk Campaign and the Canadian Mental Health Foundation. He sits on the advisory board for the Watson Center for Brain Health.
In 2012, Emry founded the WELLMEN PROJECT, a movement that proves being a ‘real man’ is about being a balanced man. Emery believes that the prevailing perception of masculinity and the social conditioning pertaining to it perpetuates the stigmatization of mental illness. The WELLMEN program blends the seeming strength of throwing an axe and the vulnerability of standing in a tree pose into an experience which opens a man’s heart to the possibilities of transparency and freedom. WELLMEN wants to inspire a rewilding of the culture of masculinity, one that accepts a more whole and complete human. No part, tear, feeling or grunt left out. The WELLMEN Project is launching in Montreal next Spring 2016 and they are looking or people and organizations to partner/sponsor/collaborate with their expansion. For more information go to www.wellmen.org