Concept photo of Joel fighting smoke dragon

"For a long time I'd been pushing things away, hiding my emotions, and pretending that everything was ok but it was getting to the point where I was afraid that I'd drifted too far, and I wasn't going to come back."

About Joel Robison:Joel

I’m a 32 year old Canadian photographer that specialises in creating conceptual storytelling portraits that allow us all a chance to see into another world. One of the projects I’m currently working on is an ongoing series called “What It Looks Like“, where I ask people who have experienced depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses what their experience looked like when they were at their low point and when things started to feel better. I then create a blog post with images that I’ve created illustrating these experiences using the visuals the person used.

(the image above was created by Joel for the campaign)

What was the major turning point in your recovery from depression?

I think my major turning point was being honest both with myself and with my family and friends. For a long time I’d been pushing things away, hiding my emotions, and pretending that everything was ok but it was getting to the point where I was afraid that I’d drifted too far and I wasn’t going to come back. I wrote an honest blog post just telling people where I was with my mental health and that was really the turning point, it was like deciding to go back and climb back up the mountain.

What are some things that really helped?

Being honest:

  • Telling people how I was feeling and when someone asked, to tell them the truth. It really helped to just acknowledge things as they come.

Going outside:

  • Spending time outdoors, moving and getting sunlight was really helpful, it gave me something to do that was getting my mind off just the same things.

Saying no:

  • Learning to say no to people and to myself really helped. There were days when I just wanted to sit and not do anything and I just had to say no, I wasn’t going to waste the day.

What advice would you give to other guys fighting depression?

Reach out, I feel now more than ever we’re in a time when people are both extremely connected but also extremely isolated. There are so many platforms for people to use to connect and talk about things they are struggling with. Find a friend or family member that will just let you talk or share or spend time with you without having to say anything, those things are important, stay in contact with people.

– Joel Robison, conceptual photographer based out of British Columbia, Canadafacebookinsta twitter Flickr


Men's Health Week takes place annually in mid-June, during the week preceding Father’s Day. The week is not just a campaign, but a call to action for men to take better care of their health and for communities to support men in this endeavour.

Men's Health Week 2024