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Men do talk about their feelings – but they need the right support

Posted on June 21, 2018

Men’s Health Week runs from 11 June to 17 June, and is an opportunity to promote the health and wellbeing of Australian men and boys.

It’s also an opportunity to talk about the issues of men’s mental health and suicide, given men take their own lives at four times the rate of women.

Men’s Resources Tasmania chair Jonathan Bedloe says suicide is a significant issue for Tasmanian men, including those aged in their mid-40s to mid-60s. This age bracket is one of two target groups of the Tasmanian component of the national suicide prevention trial, which is being coordinated by Primary Health Tasmania.

Jonathan says changes such as relationship breakdowns, work issues, redundancy and retirement can all take a toll on a man’s wellbeing.

“These are issues that affect lots of people, but particularly for men I think, so much of our identity is connected to our work,” he explains.

“So when work situations change, that can really cause us some problems.

“Having good supports in place to know how to deal with those challenges is really important.”

Notably, he believes the persistent notion that middle-aged men don’t want or know how to talk about their feelings is a myth.

“My experience is that men absolutely will talk, but they need the right context. They need to know where the boundaries are around confidentiality,” he says.

“Many men like to have an upfront conversation – they don’t want to beat around the bush (and) want to have a conversation that really names the issues.”

Outcome-driven discussions that name up solutions to the specific day-to-day challenges they are facing are more likely to benefit a man who may be struggling with stress and other pressures, Jonathan says.

He believes reduced stigma around things like sexuality makes younger men even more willing to share their feelings and seek help if they need to.

“I think the future’s looking good for younger men.”

Find out more about men’s health at http://www.amhf.org.au/


Need help?

Primary Health Tasmania does not offer health services, crisis, or emergency support.

Your regular general practitioner/doctors surgery should always be your first point of call if you need medical or mental health care

In an emergency, call Triple 000 for Ambulance, Fire or Police

For health advice on health services open at night, public holidays and weekends, visit the Tas After Hours website.

The following helplines are also available for urgent assistance:

  • Mental Health Services Helpline (DHHS) 1800 332 388
  • Lifeline Crisis Help 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselling (DHHS – Afterhours) 1800 811 994
  • Poison Information Centre 13 11 26