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The biggest killer of our nation’s men isn’t heart disease or even skin cancer. It’s themselves.
Suicide is the biggest killer of Australian men, who account for around 6 of the 8 suicides each day.
Let’s face it – most of us struggle with our mental health at some stage in life. Even if you’re feeling pretty good right now, these 4 quick tips will help you improve your overall mental health and emotional wellbeing, and surf the inevitable waves of life when they do roll in.
1. Get out and get active
According to Men’s Health Week, men who are inactive are 60% more likely to suffer from depression than those who are active. But what if you work long hours or simply don’t enjoy sport? The good news is that even a 10- to 20-minute daily walk can improve your emotional wellbeing. So try walking the dog more often, taking the kids to the park at the weekend, or dust off those runners for a lunchtime jog or brisk walk around the block.
2. Understand that it's OK to seek help
Unfortunately, the stigma attached to talking about mental health is still prevalent, especially for men. Many men struggle to acknowledge they are experiencing the mental health issues that lead to suicide, and approximately 70% of men avoid seeking support all together. Don’t suffer in silence – talk to your partner, friends or workmates. If you don’t feel comfortable talking it through with loved ones, see your GP or a counsellor or psychologist.
3. Take control of your finances
Debt is one of the biggest causes of stress. Men often feel that the burden of providing financial security for their family falls squarely on their shoulders. There are plenty of resources that can help you manage your money, but if it’s all too overwhelming, a financial counsellor can help you take control of your debt and put a plan in place to help you get back on track.
4. Make mateship a priority
Dealing with mental health issues can be extremely isolating. Studies show that quality social connections decrease the chances of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and developing addictions. However, 85% of Aussie males struggle to find enough time to catch up with mates. So buck the trend and reach out to your mates, join a social group or sign up to your local Men’s Shed – a safe and busy environment built on the foundations of old-fashioned mateship.
For more information on Men’s Health Week, visit www.menshealthweek.org.au. For a confidential discussion about one-on-one counselling services, including financial counselling, call Connect Health & Community on 03 9575 5333.
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