British Columbia

B.C. clothing line tackles stigma around mental health for men

A small clothing business in Interior British Columbia is trying to break the silence around mental health issues for men based on the founder’s own experiences growing up.

SadBoys founder draws on his on personal experience with depression, anxiety

The clothing line SadBoys tackles issues like depression in the apparel in the hopes of opening up the conversation. (Carter Gabriel/SadBoys)

A small clothing business in Interior British Columbia is trying to break the silence around mental health issues for men based on the founder's own experiences growing up. 

As a young teen, Tyler Wade turned to painting and drawing as an outlet for anxiety and depression. Now 22-years-old, he is using some of those designs for his SadBoys clothing line. 

"There's always been this weird stigma around men and not being able to talk about their mental health — that if you do reach out, it'll be perceived as being weak," he said. 

The "sad" in the brand's name stands for stigmas around depression. It's based in Penticton, B.C., and is releasing several new products on Monday. 

"Mental health is so stigmatized that we need to end that barrier and move forward and normalize talking about feelings," Wade told Brady Strachan, guest host of CBC's Daybreak South.

Wade draws inspiration for street art and graffiti. (Carter Gabriel/SadBoys )

It's an issue that impacts Wade personally. 

"When I was about  11 or 12, I started noticing what felt like the days were getting longer and it was harder to go through the days and I was feeling sad," he said. 

"I found out that using creative outlet kind of helped me."

He was eventually diagnosed with depression, anxiety and ADHD.

"Some days, I still have problems reaching out to people, I have to force myself to reach out," he said. 

"It definitely is one of the hardest things I've ever done."

By drawing attention to mental health and putting the conversation in the spotlight through clothes, Wade says he hopes to erase some of the stigma. 

Many of his clothes draw on the art and designs he did growing up. 

"It's a mix of things but mainly street art orientated," said Wade.

"One of my creative outlets was spray paint and graffiti, so those elements always play into my designs."

Ten per cent of all SadBoys sales goes towards mental health initiatives, including the Canadian Mental Health Association and Foundry B.C.

With files from Daybreak South

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