By Liam Hanrahan – HHD Health Assistant
Tis the month of Movember! After over three weeks of groundwork, moustaches of all colours and styles begin to flourish around us. Although this recent addition to your friend’s upper lip may be questionable in terms of looks, the meaning behind the moustache is an undisputedly important topic to discuss. Men’s mental health gets swept under the rug all year round, so now is the month to talk about it.
How common is mental ill health amongst men in Australia?
Your mates never talk about feeling down or anxious so it mustn’t be that common right? This couldn’t be further from the truth! A national survey in 2018 found that 1 in 7 Australian men experienced anxiety and/or depression in the past year. (1) In addition to this, it was found that in every day, approximately 6 men die by suicide in Australia. (2) Worryingly, this was before we were plunged into a global pandemic that has worsened the situation for those struggling with mental ill health. These statistics are a sombre reminder that although it doesn’t get spoken about often, many of your mates may be silently suffering from mental ill health.
What are some of the signs of mental ill health?
Some of the signs of mental ill health to look out for in your mates include:
- Changes in behaviour. For instance, not going out anymore
- Becoming withdrawn and avoiding social situations
- Feeling down and hopeless
- Chest tightness and feeling tense
- Excessive fear and panic attacks
What to do if a friend is struggling with their mental health?
In a situation where a friend or colleague is experiencing worsening mental health or a crisis, Mental Health First Aid Australia recommends the following steps:
A = Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis
L = Listen and communicate non-judgementally
G = Give support and information
E = Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
E = Encourage other supports (3)
If you are struggling with mental health, please don’t delay seeking help from your GP or from other healthcare professionals.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 41
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Death, Australia. Intentional self-harm, key characteristics. 2018. Available from: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/causes-death/causes-death-australia/latest-release
- Kitchener B, Jorm A, Kelly C. Mental health first aid Australia. 4th ed. Melbourne: Mental Health First Aid; 2018.