Life issues

Men's Health Week: In conversation

18 Jun 2020
Benji Psychologist

What advice would you give to someone who is concerned about a mate?

It’s always best to start with an open, honest conversation with them. This can be tricky if this isn’t something you regularly do, and it’s fair enough if you’re worried about it being awkward, or even making it worse by bringing it up. I would say that majority of the time this doesn’t happen, and your mate would be relieved that you have noticed, and are bringing it up in a genuine and caring way. Beyond that, it may be good to support them to get in touch with a trained professional for ongoing support.

What would you say to a young man who is struggling?

Sometimes it can seem like telling others about your struggle with mental health is a sign of weakness, or goes against what you’ve learned ‘being a man’ is about. If we think of bravery as a key masculine value, then actually I would say the brave thing to do is to admit when you need help, and confront those fears by letting other people into your struggle. Just having someone else listen to your problems and validate them, can help you feel less alone

What are three things you do to look after yourself?

I never underestimate the basics. Good sleep, regular exercise, quality relationships. It’s so easy to let these things slip and then wonder why we aren’t feeling so great, when the answer is often right in front of us.


Max headspace Volunteer

What are three things you do to look after your health? 

  1. Staying in touch and catching up with friends as often as I can is great for my mental health
  2. Doing my best to get 45 minutes a day worth of proper exercise is really enjoyable and keeps me fit at the same time.
  3. Spending time with family is really important for me, and so looking after my mental health by catching up with family is really important for me

What would you say to a young man who is struggling with their mental health?

I'd let him know that he's definitely not alone, that we all have our struggles and that I'm there for him if he needs me, no matter the time of day, I'm only a phone call away.

What are some of the ways you connect with other young men? 

I try to check in with mates that I know aren't having the best time of it in person. I'm a huge fan of a walk, so getting out with a friend or two that aren't in the best headspace and just walking and talking really helps. That being said, sometimes just showing your mates you care about them and that you're there for them by flicking them a text works well too. Bottom line is it doesn't matter how you reach out, letting your friends know you're there is what matters the most.

David Health Promotion Manager2

What are three things you do to look after your health? 

I’m pretty active, I like to get to the gym, on the bike or train at home most days. This is something I took up in my 20s and I wish I’d started sooner.
I think sleep is pretty important – working out how much you realistically need, and trying to get that amount of sleep six of the seven nights each week. Regularity helps here too – I try to get to bed at roughly the same time and get up at the same time most days.
I own two dogs, patting a dog is so good for your mental health, taking them for walks or running in the park, playing fetch. They’re a reason to get up and going, they get you out out of the house everyday, they are full of love and attention and are always glad to see you when you get home. I’m sure cats have positive properties, but I’m a dog person.

What would you say to a young man who is struggling with their mental health?  

My greatest advice would be to be yourself. Try as much as you can to be true to yourself and who you want to be. I’ve noticed that power and strength of people who choose not to confim or change themselves for other people or the expectations of society. And related to this, I’d encourage you to be curious, look out for guys who demonstrate the sort of man you want to be – ask them questions, understand their story and learn from them. Role models really help, especially if you don’t have those role models naturally around you.

How can everyone help support the men in life to look after their health?

Let guys talk and don’t assume that men don’t care about their health. They do! Men just look at health differently. The assumption that men don’t care about their health, means they often aren’t asked about how they can improve it and so they don’t follow the advice or suggestions they are given.

Jim Family Therapist

What advice would you give to someone whose concerned about a mate?

You don’t need to do this alone. There are many resources online if you’re not sure what to do, this is a good start. Speak to your mate openly. Express your concerns to them. If they are your friend, they will appreciate this. If you are concerned about risk and this is overwhelming for you, speak to someone close to both of you for assistance. When someone is struggling, they usually appreciate if someone close to them is aware of their struggles and shows concern. Silence and avoidance does not help.

What would you say to a friend who is struggling?

Listening is so important. You must take time to hear their story. Tell them you are there to help, and they can get help. Offering encouragement is often the door to hope. You don’t need to feel like you need to solve it. You are better off helping them by reminding them of what they have already done to improve their situation. Put yourself in their shoes, and maybe suggest what you would do in your own predicament.

What are three things you do to look after yourself?

  • Vent my worries and pain to someone close e.g. friends, my wife, my sister.
  • Walk my dogs every morning
  • Eat healthy meals most of the time. Get rest. Play my guitar