3 key tips for starting conversations about men’s mental health
International Men’s Day is on 19 November. It’s celebrated in many countries across the world as an opportunity to talk about masculinity and men’s social issues.
Masculinity is complex, and there are few who really understand how to handle some of the problems men can face. As a result, the statistics can be dire.
In Australia alone, 3 out of 4 suicides are men; 2 out of 3 violent deaths are men; and boys under-perform girls at every stage of education.
At Feros Care, we’re
lucky to have some incredible male team members in our organisation; including men who are running programs leading the way in social change and acknowledgement of some of the biggest issues, such as loneliness, depression and violence.
Simon Mannion is a Community
Engagement and Wellbeing Coach in our Health and Aged Care Division. He used to run our Beat the COVID Blues program in Newcastle, and has many years of experience working with men in different settings.
He gives his top tips for starting conversations about men’s health, from youth through
to the elderly, and how he inspires men of all ages to be the best men they can be.
Changing the idea of ‘what it is to be a man’
Simon grew up in country towns, surrounded by positive role models, with his caring nature nurtured by both his mum and dad
– but he was one of the lucky ones.
“I know a lot of men who still receive that message of – real men don’t cry, men are tough, you need to suck it up, don’t show emotion,” Simon says. “That is slowly changing. It’s now more acceptable for men to acknowledge
their feelings but there’s still a stigma.”
The key? Letting the men in your life know that it’s okay to struggle, it’s okay to feel sad or depressed, and that it’s okay to reach out when you do.
“Respect and communication are such simple skills to begin
with, but they can get so complex without male role models,” Simon explains. “Even just learning positive body language, or having a positive conversation instead of lashing out.”
“Being a male, it’s up to us to end the kind of violence we can see in
a lot of circumstances, and I feel a big responsibility. I hold other men accountable for that too.”
Learning the key of listening – and communicating well