It’s different for blokes: Why Australian men need to take action on mental health
On average, men account for 75% of suicides in Australia every year. Yet, across the board, men are much less likely to seek treatment from a GP, or to ask for support from friends and family. That needs to change.
Australian men are experiencing a mental health epidemic
Men throughout our country are experiencing mental health concerns at an alarming rate. Regional, socio-economic, racial, ethnic and cultural differences can compound these issues, yet Aussie blokes are still much less likely than women, or even men overseas, to seek help.
Let’s look at the stats:
- 1 in 8 men experience depression and one in five men experience anxiety at some stage of their lives
- Approximately 1 in 10 new fathers experience postnatal depression in the first year of the baby’s life and single fathers are more prone to feelings of isolation, as well as stigmatisation, as a direct result of their family structure
- Men with mental health problems are much more likely to self-medicate and attempt to manage their symptoms through alcohol and other drugs
- Men with problem gambling experience high levels of comorbid mental health disorders and substance abuse
- Men are three times as likely to die by suicide as women
Men are great at taking action – just not on mental health
Men are stereotypically known for a practical (doing, using) rather than theoretical (ideas-based) view of their body and health, and consequently may ignore minor symptoms until they are severe enough to affect day-to-day tasks. This applies to mental health as well as physical, and it may take a serious scare for a man to reach out for support.
Some men feel reluctant to seek help when they are unsure about the severity of a problem, citing concerns such as embarrassment, or not wanting to appear weak by unnecessarily seeking help.
Everyone’s mental health varies during their life: positive and healthy at one end of the spectrum, severe symptoms or conditions that impact on everyday life at the other. Each of us moves through this spectrum day by day, week by week, year by year, in response to different stressors and experiences.
Treatment is available, local and designed for you
Just like with physical health, we must have good mental health habits and a realistic perspective about what we can achieve. These are honed over years of good practice, with support from professionals.
Seeking medical and therapeutic support from General Practitioners, psychiatrists and psychologists is necessary in maintaining good mental health. Mental health issues and stress, whatever the cause, are what these professionals see and treat every day.
Many health professionals are male, if that is a preference, and many offer extended hours so appointments can be planned around work and family schedules.
Multiple treatment options are available. Telephone and online counselling services have become more popular and are a great way to get started. MensLine Australia is one example of remote counselling services, and is designed by men for men.
Take care of yourself so you can take care of others
Men who effectively manage their mental health can make significant improvements in their quality of life, increase their capacity to support family and friends, and maintain the ability to perform at their peak.
If you want to be your best – at work, at home, in your family life and beyond – a courageous and action-based approach to mental health is vital.
Albert Road Clinic provides supportive care for those suffering from mental health issues. We offer inpatient, day patient, outpatient and community based care.
Treatment is based on individual needs and includes care from medical practitioners, registered nurses and allied health practitioners.
For more information, visit the Albert Road Clinic website, or contact us on 03 9256 8311.