Men's Mental Health Awareness
The statistics around suicide show us there is still a lot of work to do to encourage men to speak up about their mental health.
Men have a suicide rate three times higher than women, and 75 per cent of all suicides are among young men. It is the leading cause of death among 15- to 44-year-olds, more than heart disease, lung cancer and traffic accidents.
We asked men of the QFCC about the barriers some men experience when speaking about their mental health. This is what they said…
“Men can be reluctant to admit to their feelings, there is a perception that admitting you are struggling is a sign of weakness, where it is actually a sign of strength.”
“It is often not until our mental wellbeing impacts others that we will seek help. Our society has also become less connected and more individualistic, meaning times for men to be together in connected-social units have reduced.”
“Our reluctance to engage with peers or professionals to share or discuss things that are bothering us for fear of looking weak or being judged—a pride thing. This is particularly true for older generations who were brought up not to show emotion. This can have a flow-on effect of not discussing mental health with our children, especially sons, as they mature.”
“Male success is often defined by competition (career achievement, sporting prowess) as well as being a good dad, a good husband and a good person. Men can often find themselves leaving little time for themselves and their self-care”.
Here are some ideas they suggested to help you prioritise your mental health
Exercise: Group sport and individual exercise can be a great way to decompress.
Get outdoors: Hit the trails, sit in the sunshine, go to the beach, catch up with friends in the park and throw a ball.
Take time out for yourself: Say no to an event you don’t want to go to and instead have some “me-time” or listen to some music.
Be kind to yourself: Sometimes you want to please everyone—do a good job at work, be the best father and husband, share the household load, keep in touch with friends and family, keep fit, bring your best self to sports teams… and by trying to please everyone you end up pleasing no-one and feeling deflated. Try to remember that everything has peaks and troughs, and nothing lasts forever. The sun still comes up in the morning.
If you’re struggling, reach out for help, there are so many different resources out there! A good first step is to talk to people you trust, such as a partner, friend or colleague. You can also seek professional support from your GP, a psychologist or a counsellor. It won’t make you less of a man to say you could use a hand.
Here’s some support lines:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
- Kids Helpline (ages 5 to 25) 1800 551 800
More helplines are featured here: https://www.qfcc.qld.gov.au/assistance