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It’s Time to Focus on Men’s Mental Health

Men struggle with the stigma of mental illness.

How many times have you overheard your friend or your dad say when questioned about their mental health that they were “fine”? Many guys are under the impression that admitting they are dealing with depression or anxiety is a show of weakness. Their viewpoint could be influenced by their upbringing or how they perceive men in the media.

Men and mental health — statistics in Australia

Men in this country are hurting.

12.2% of Australian males aged 16 to 85 have had either depression or bipolar disorder over their lifetime (the equivalent is at least 1.15 million males today*). Meanwhile, 20.4% of Australian males aged 18 to 65 have known what it’s like to live with anxiety (the equivalent is at least 1.93 million males today*).

The epidemic of suicide

Australian men aren’t just struggling with depression; more men than women succeed in taking their own lives because they frequently use more violent means, like firearms.

Seven men commit suicide on average every day in Australia. Over the past ten years, a consistent pattern has shown that men commit suicide about three times more frequently than women.

Early intervention, support, and improved access to counselling for males should be the three pillars of our strategy. The earlier we can start having this conversation about mental health with young guys, the more at ease they will be asking for help.

Support men supporting men. There should be men-only support groups available. Men need to be encouraged to express their emotions openly. In a gathering of their peers, they are more likely to speak openly about themselves. Men might be persuaded to make the first move by a dedicated men’s helpline.

Expand patient access to care. Men have historically been less likely to seek treatment for mental health issues. Only 27.5% of men with recent symptoms of a mental disorder had gotten help for their mental health issues.