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For Men: It’s Okay to Say (how you feel)

December 11th, 2017 by

I was recently asked by an allied health professional “How can Men seek help” and so as Movember has ended – which raises the importance of men’s mental health –  I thought this was an important article to write. If this professional didn’t know, how would other men know this information about how to seek help for their well being?

Demystifying support – why talk?

Recognising that you are not feeling good about life, about a relationship or about work is a good first step. Mates can be critical in this process however what if you can’t talk with them? Or they aren’t available when you need them? or the issue is complex, and you think they will listen but not understand completely or give the right advice? Talking with your mates is a great first step as they will also be the ones to offer support as you work out more complex issues with a professional. So, why seek out a counsellor or Psychologist? Well, there are lots of reasons, but I think there are two very important ones. The first point is obvious, that counsellors and Psychologists are trained mental health professionals whom have had to do years of University study and then further practical training under supervision in the field of their profession. We have high standards that we need to abide by every year, otherwise we are unable to practice professionally and ethically. The second, perhaps less obvious, is that people who go into these professions, genuinely care for others wellbeing and want to make a difference in people’s lives. I think this is a really important factor when you are considering “should I talk with someone”. Knowing that the person you are going to see is not going to judge you, will listen to everything you have to say and offer you genuine support may make it easier to take that next step.

So why seek help? We only must look at the concerning statistics to know that “not talking” can have serious consequences that not only impacts the individual but those around them.

Some statistics, taken from the Movember website:

1 in 2 Australian men have had a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

3 out of every 4 suicides are men.

What can we do?

Talk. Ask. Listen. Encourage action. Check in.

Most of us say we’d be there for our mates if they need us.

Most of us also say that we feel uncomfortable asking mates for help.

Something’s gotta change.

 

How do you access support?

The best place to start is with your General Practitioner. It won’t take long to tell them that you haven’t been feeling good and you would like to talk to someone about it. Helping you with your mental health is common practice for GP’s, they are not just there to help you with the flu and other physical ailments, they care about your complete well-being. Your GP will be able to give you a Mental Health Care Plan which allows you to access 6 sessions with a private psychologist (which is Medicare rebated). Often your GP will know of local Psychologists whom they regularly refer to, however, if you have been recommended a (qualified) professional through a family member or friend you can tell your GP you would like to be referred to them. This is a very easy process. Usually you should be able to have your first appointment in a matter of a few weeks.

 

Make change for your sons and have an impact on the future generation of Men

One of the most important roles that Fathers can have on their children and on their son’s well-being as they develop, is to role model that it is OK to talk about how you feel. If you won’t do it, how can you expect that your son can, should or would?

 

Helpful websites:

Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au

Movember Foundation https://au.movember.com

 

References:

https://au.movember.com/mens-health/mental-health

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/men