Men’s Health Week is about recognising the unique health challenges faced by our male family and friends and reaching out to help them. Brothers, fathers, sons and partners; the men in our lives are important to us. Unfortunately, most men are not great at looking after themselves.
The passing of Anthony Bourdain last week has again brought suicide and mental illness into watercooler conversations. There were 3027 suicides in Australia in 2015 – three quarters of whom were males . Intentional self-harm accounted for more Years of Life Lost in Australia than any other illness in 2015 (103 442 years). This is a greater cost of life years annually than breast cancer, colon cancer, melanoma and pancreatic cancers combined .
Male rates of Drug-induced and Drug-related deaths is double that of females . In fact, alcohol kills 6 times more men than women globally . Together, poor mental health and substance abuse disorders top the global causes of disability .
This week, we wish to challenge ourselves and our community to approach the men in our lives and start a (health) conversation. This week is a call to action, especially to our female members, to lend an arm or an ear to those men in our lives who appear invincible – but are in fact as vulnerable as anyone else to mental or physical illness.
 ABS: Suicides – https://bit.ly/2dqzwIz
 ABS: Causes of Death – https://bit.ly/2d5GJdY
 ABS: Mortality and Morbidity: Drug-related deaths https://bit.ly/2sNc1xd
 Men’s Health Week Infographics: https://bit.ly/2xQAyHj
 ABC News: Mental Illness Report: https://ab.co/2Jx0TPv
Men’s Health – Resources
Many people go through tough times, experience mental illness, or consider/attempt suicide. Today we suggest some excellent resources on how to reach out to support someone in these situations; or how to ask for help if you are in these situations yourself.
We challenge each of you to start a conversation this week. We encourage you to share stories of successfully having these conversations in the past – whether you were the supporter or the supported. Sharing these things can give people hope and normalise this conversation.
Supporting Someone with Anxiety or Depression
This section offers an excellent framework to have simple conversations and show that you care. It boils down to choosing a time and place where your friend will feel safe, employing judgement-free listening, and making genuine offers of assistance. Remember that you are not there to fix anything or solve problems – the best thing you can do is demonstrate that you care.
Talk to someone about your suicidal feelings
You are not alone, and you are not the first to feel this way. There is no shame in considering alternatives; however, processing your feelings out loud to another person can be incredibly helpful – even if you think these is no hope. Choose someone you trust and feel safe talking honestly with (friend or medical professional). Be prepared for some initial shock from the person you tell, but try to approach it as a normal conversation where you just want to work through your thoughts.
There is fantastic support in Australia for people in these positions. Take action – are you worried for a friend, or simply find it hard to get out of bed every day? Visit some of the links below.
Headspace Toowoomba: https://headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/toowoomba/news
R U OK – “How to Ask” Guide: https://bit.ly/2HsDdXc
Men’s Health Week: www.menshealthweek.org.au
Beyond Blue: www.beyondblue.org.au
Men’s Line: www.mensline.org.au
Man Up: www.manup.org.au