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Men's health week: Having conversations about mental health with your loved ones.

Statistics show that men are less likely to have open conversations and seek help for their health than women. Including for help around anxiety, depression, substance use and suicidal thoughts. The male stereotype of being ‘tough’ sometimes gets in the way of males feeling comfortable to speak about their mental health. Here are a few ways to start conversations with your loved ones about mental health or seeking some professional support. These gentle introductions might help someone feel empowered to seek support or feel more comfortable with the conversation.

  • Telling them a success story of professional support. A friend of family member who sought help and is now well or had had improvements in their health.

  • Let them know how common mental illness is. 1 in 5 men experience anxiety, 1 in 8 men experience depression, 7 out of 9 suicides are male, 1 in 4 men have substance problems.

  • Letting them know what a professional does. Understanding this is a scientific study around neurochemical processes.

  • Share your own experience (if appropriate and comfortable). How were you feeling before seeking help, what was it like and what benefits came from it.

  • Give them options that may work for them. E.g. work, face to face, online, GP, phone, etc. It doesn’t always look like sitting on a couch.

  • Getting them to reflect. Asking them what advice they would give to a friend in the same situation.

  • Let them know possible personal outcomes. Such as improvements in their situations, behaviours, or health.

  • Compare to an illness with less stigma. Asking what they would do someone would do if it was a physical illness with a similar impact on their life.

If you or a loved one is needing some support or advice on managing mental health, please reach out to these free services:

👉Men’s Line 1300 78 99 78 👉Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 👉Lifeline 13 11 14 👉Suicide Call Back 1300 659 467 👉NT Mental Health Crisis Line 1800 682 288

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