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MENtal Health: Barriers Experienced by Males Seeking Therapy

Traditionally, men have been deterred from going to therapy. The hesitancy in seeking help can be stronger when men are racialized, come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds or are marginalized in other social categories. As a racialized male therapist, and the director of New Chapter, I have always been mindful of these barriers and have established my practice to overcome them. Below, are some reasons why men are hindered from seeking therapy and how New Chapter intervenes to accommodate men from all backgrounds experiencing these challenges.

1) A lack of funds

Some men who are employed also have insurance which means when they pay for services from myself and other social workers, they can be reimbursed. Given the difficulties presented by the economy and COVID-19, many men have found themselves unemployed or underemployed and therefore, do not have access to the insurance policies other men people have.

New Chapter’s Approach

I offer affordable counselling as a result. My rate for individuals is $75.00 per session (50 minutes). This rate is much lower than the average price of a therapy session which is typically $125-$175 per session (50 minutes). You can also speak to me about financial difficulties you are experiencing and ask about my pro bono rate. Furthermore, if you are unemployed but are a student, you most likely have access to an insurance policy.

2) Therapy is only for white people

This sentiment is often felt by men who belong to racialized communities. Speaking from my own history, I know that the Igbo people of Nigeria, my people, have traditionally brought their issues before an elder, talking through problems to find a solution in a safe environment. Therapy is not new to the BIPOC community. The reasons why therapy may sound foreign to racialized communities is because typically, practitioners have been white, and programs related to mental health have often targeted the dominant class.

New Chapter’s Approach

As a Black male social worker, I not only offer my skills and qualifications to you, but also my lived experiences - I identify easily with my clientele. Representation is very important.

3) Sharing emotions is difficult for men

Toxic masculinity which encourages the suppression of emotions and the use of violence as a measure of power, discourages men from seeking help. Racialized men experience trauma and racial oppression constantly. As a result of these hardships, chronic stress in the lives of racialized men is a reality. Men of all backgrounds are not encouraged to vocalize feelings with other people. From an early age, Black men and other men from other racial backgrounds are taught that boys don’t cry which is very detrimental to men and our society.

New Chapter’s Approach

As a Black male social worker, I understand firsthand, the negative messages given to Black men and boys and men and boys of other racial backgrounds daily and I reinforce the importance of representation. Sharing in the same social location as my clients, I provide a safe, healthy, and confidential space for men and boys in order for them to heal and move forward in a positive direction.

If you are seeking a new beginning and you need guidance, counselling, and life coaching, speak to me today about starting a New Chapter in your life!

Kevin Ufoegbune


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