Noah Reid outside of barbershop
Noah ReidImage by: Max Rosenstein
Noah Reid outside of barbershop
Noah Reid smiling in barber chair
Noah Reid in front of a barbershop
13 November 2020

Noah Reid on why talking about mental health is so important

Noah Reid
4 minutes read time

What about the Movember cause resonated with you?

As Movember’s focus has become increasingly about mental health in addition to testicular and prostate cancer - which are of course incredibly important - I became more aware of the incredible work the charity is doing. My wife is a psychiatric nurse and researcher so conversations around mental health have always been a big part of our lives.

As an actor and a musician, I deal a lot in vulnerability which is such a major part – and has to be – of masculinity. Like a lot of people right now, the social distancing that we’re facing during this period has specifically highlighted the importance of that for me. In a time when we’re not sharing spaces and that default togetherness is no longer there, the safety net of having other people check in or having those conversations isn’t available like it used to be. Now, it’s much harder to access that in people. And so, reaching out and having those conversations and following up is now more important than ever.

Why is it important for men to open up and be vulnerable about what they’re going through?

Social connectivity is a major factor in dealing with mental health struggles. When people feel like they have some sense of connectivity with others and a community around them, it makes dealing with whatever issues in someone’s life more palatable. Personally, I get weird about going to the doctor and following up on my check-ups, but the more friends and family talk to me about how they're navigating their healthcare journey, the more it normalizes going to the doctor and encourages me to put my health first. If we’re talking about this stuff, it makes it more accessible.

The same goes for mental health. Certainly, within the traditional old school notions of masculinity it becomes much more difficult to share because there’s such an ingrained notion that we have to be strong and quiet and suffer through the things that are hard. In this version of masculinity, talking might feel particularly difficult. But the truth is it takes a certain amount of courage and strength to share the difficult things going on in your life with others. Put it out into the open and talk more - the more you speak openly and vulnerably, the less isolated you’ll feel and the more you’ll realize others are going through similar experiences.

There’s a unique pressure you face being in the public eye, so is there a time or story where everything looked great on the outside but wasn’t on the inside?

It’s show business! It's a world that revolves around putting on a pretty face and making it seem like everything's perfect. I’ve certainly felt that pressure at various points of my career. Walking onto the set of Schitt’s Creek for the first time, I was pretty nervous. In fact, probably terrified. I do remember saying out loud a number of times how nervous I was. I think just generally speaking and voicing that helped me.

Having music as an outlet to express my vulnerability and reflect on things that are going on in my life is extremely important to me. Like a lot of people, I wasn’t feeling particularly creative early on in the pandemic, but as it went on, I realized I needed to be playing and listening and challenging myself to engage creatively. I’ve found that I really lean on music and in my new record Gemini I’m working through a lot of that showbiz anxiety. Through sharing my music, I get a lot of messages from people about how particular songs helped them get through a difficult period in their lives and even that creates this sense of connectivity. It might not be through a conversation, but you start to realize how many people are experiencing something similar.

Who are the people you turn to and what are the ways you’ve been staying connected during this time?

I think in general the pandemic has forced our social circles to shrink significantly. Those secondary hangs – well, you don’t get them as much right now. I’m fortunate to live with an incredible human being in my wife and we’ve leaned on each other a lot during this time. I’ve also been leaning on my family and my close friends. I’ve found myself calling a lot of people and saying, ‘do you want to go for a walk?’ Actually, more like pestering a lot of my friends who are working from home and remind me that they can’t just go for a walk in the middle of the day whenever I want. Moving your body is such a key element of mental health; getting outside and moving has been a major help for me.

What do you think David would have said if Patrick grew out his moustache for Movember?

If it was for Movember, he’d be cool with it as long as there was a finite end. Especially given my moustache is pretty threadbare and isn’t the densest Mo you’ve ever seen. But you know, we work with what we’ve got and there’s no moustache that’s better than another. Every moustache counts. I think that David could grow a much better moustache then Patrick. Frankly, I’d just like to see Dan Levy with a moustache. He could get the full handle.