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Men, it’s time to put your health first

19 November 2020

“Nurturing yourself is not selfish – it’s essential to your survival and your well-being.”

Renee Peterson Trudeau

It’s International Men’s Day in Australia and we’re taking this opportunity to talk about all things health for the men in our lives. So often men don’t talk about their health or address It until sadly it’s too late. It’s time to change the conversation about both mental and physical health and support men to open up and seek help when they need it.

This is a day which provides an opportunity to take part in a global conversation about manhood, masculinity and men’s issues. These include the social issues that men and boys face, the impact of men and boys in our community, celebrating diversity and addressing health concerns and support.

Speaking up and looking out for their health is one of the most common challenges that men face, and their loved ones also face in supporting them. Far too often we hear of late diagnosis of treatable diseases and illnesses because the signs were missed or ignored. Being able to speak up and share when something isn’t right is a huge first step in improving health outcomes for boys and men.

Here are some of the ways that we can address wellbeing and health with our men:

Asking “are you ok?”

This goes for both mental and physical health. Sometimes it’s really hard to say “I’m not ok” or “I’m in pain” or “I’m struggling”, but when we’re asked, it can be easier to open the conversation. If you see a man in your life who appears to be having a challenge, why not ask how they are and let them ease into the conversation. They may not always answer honestly or openly, but it at least lets them know you care and opens the door for more conversation in future.

Encouraging male bonding time

In later years of life, men find it increasingly difficult to create new friendships and maintain older ones. Encouraging time spent with other men in the family setting, social scene or at work can provide a supportive environment. Continuing to maintain these relationships and having the support from loved ones to do so can help address issues when they arise as they have a safe place to share with people they trust.

Starting and continuing physical activities

We all know that physical activities such as walking, gardening and sports can have huge benefits on our mental and physical wellbeing. It keeps our bodies strong and our mind energised through the increased oxygen to the brain. Continuing regular physical activities can help to reduce illnesses and diseases coming on in the first place. Whether it’s with family or friends, or by joining a walking group, sporting club or local gardening group, having a physical release can have huge benefits for one’s health.

Seeking support when grieving

For men who have lost loved ones, taking care of their own mental and physical wellbeing can become even less of a focus. We encourage you to find someone to help you with this journey, or it may even be some of the professional services below if you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to family and friends. There is support and there is help, especially in those challenging times of grief and loss.

If you need support while grieving and would like to look at some gentle activities with guidance, visit the Centre for Care and Wellbeing page support.

If you are in need of grief counselling or additional support, please contact the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) for resources and guidance - 1800 642 066. ACGB is the largest provider of grief and bereavement education in Australia, providing support for bereaved and grieving Australians for more than 22 years.

If you are feeling worried, low or struggling to cope, please call Lifeline or Beyond Blue for immediate help and support.

Lifeline

Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone and face-to-face crisis support and suicide prevention services.

24 Hr Telephone Crisis Support – 13 11 14

lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue

No matter how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you, Beyond Blue has information, strategies and expert advice to help support you.

Call 1800 512 348 24 hours / 7 days a week

For additional support during COVID-19, Beyond blue have created this dedicated space:
Online forums 24 hours / 7 days a week

coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au