Mo Bro Ryan sits in a Vancouver barbershop
Mo Bro Ryan EwartImage by: James Baker
Mo Bro Ryan sits in a Vancouver barbershop
9 September 2022

Ryan’s Story: What Happens When You Open Up About Your Mental Health

Mo Bro
Ryan Ewart
3 minutes read time

My motivation for supporting Movember stems from a place that I don't ever want to go back to.

There have been a number of challenges I have had to overcome throughout my life. From a young age I had this internal monologue inside my head that I “did not belong” or “wasn’t wanted”. Another big part of my story is that I have previously attempted to take my own life on multiple occasions. Those, along with living in active addiction for a couple years were probably some of my biggest hurdles that I have had to get over.

That in itself, just talking and opening up about these challenges, was something that I didn't share with anyone until the last couple of years. That place, where I once was, is somewhere that I don't want anyone else to have to experience, or if they are currently there, give them a helping hand out of that.

It was the beginning of my journey when I began coming forward about my mental health and my own personal struggles. If I’m being honest, what really helped me most was when I got clean and started to develop some real relationships with people that cared about me. These relationships, those people, mixed in with the individuals on my Movember team – that’s what really helped me propel forward in this new way of life. Don’t get me wrong, it was scary and a battle, but over time and letting people in showed nothing but positives that carry with me to this day.

The unthinkable happened when I finally opened up. I say that because of the internal monologue that runs in our heads, telling us that no one cares and all that nonsense. But what happened was that people listened, people connected, people understood. All that made that happen was me taking a chance when I felt I had no other way to go. I am forever grateful that I decided to put out a video and share my story, because from that moment onward, it has been nothing but a forward walk with a community around me just growing and growing and I wouldn't change it for the world.

The biggest statement that I wanted to get out there when I first brought my story to light was that, “It’s okay to not be okay.” I feel as though the society we live in and the false narratives we men tell ourselves is that we have to die on that horse before ever thinking to ask for a hand to help us. The stigma that men need to feel and act a certain way to be manly has gone on for too long and has led to so many men taking their own life.

" My message when it comes to men’s health is that you aren’t alone, no matter what you tell yourself or what you feel. You don’t have to do it alone. Take a chance, reach out. You won’t regret it. "

One of the wildest parts of me reaching out, was that after that day came to an end, I got a few messages from the lads, who then went on to connect with me about their own battles and -- boom -- the deeper friendships were built. That’s the type of stuff I live for. It’s hard getting vulnerable the first few times, but when you live in a place where you feel comfortable to do so, the gifts that life hands back are unexplainable.

This Movember, I am once again going to cycle the 60km each week, in honour of the 60 men we lose every hour to suicide around the globe. Hopefully reach my goal in fundraising alongside my Movember team – the best team ever, Team Cinnamon and Oak. Thinking about doing Movember? Don’t think. DO! Just by participating, you’re showing that you can be a safe place for someone to reach out to. We can help so many.

Support Ryan’s efforts to raise funds and awareness for men’s health.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, or needs emotional support we urge you to head to for crisis support options. To speak with someone immediately, contact your local 24-hour support service.