Thanks to Movember, the month of November is dedicated to raising awareness about men’s mental and physical health. Movember is the leading charity in Australia supporting the biggest issues in men’s health including Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Founded in 2003, Movember raises money to fund hundreds of men’s health projects around the world aiming to improve research, knowledge, and support for men.
Why is it Important to Support Men’s Mental Health?
Men often are known for bottling things up often influenced by harmful stigmas such as men who express emotions or vulnerability being ‘weak’. The ‘macho’ nature of our male society has been given as the leading reason why men don’t reach out for support for their mental health.
However, by not talking about how we feel, our emotions do not just go away. They will build up over time, eventually impacting our lives. Sometimes more than if we had spoken about our feelings in the first place.
Talking about our mental health and seeking help early is far more beneficial than neglecting the early warning signs. By effectively managing your mental health, you can enjoy a significantly improved quality of life where you can better support your family and friends, and perform to the best of your ability.
Signs of Mental Health Difficulties in Men
Throughout our lives, everyone’s mental health varies, going back and forth between positive at one end, and poor mental health at the other. There are signs to look out for that can help you keep an eye on your mental health as well as those around you.
Everyone feels sad, low, deflated, flat and angry sometimes. However, if you are feeling low, sad, down, angry and miserable most of the time for more than two weeks, this may be a sign of depression.
Other signs include:
Signs of anxiety are:
Depression and anxiety are unlikely to go away on their own. If left untreated, depression and anxiety can stay for months, or even years. Both are serious conditions and severely impact on your quality of life. However, depression and anxiety are treatable.
In order to support your own mental health, and the mental health of other men in your life, there are things you can do to improve your mental health.
1. Take the Men’s Mind Quiz: Beyond Blue have designed a 5-minute quiz to help you understand how you and your mental health is doing, and what steps you can take to improve them.
Follow this link: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/men/mind-quiz
2. Spend time with your family, friends or a co-worker for support: Feeling isolated or lonely are key contributors to feeling low and depressed. Make sure to stay connected even when you feel you don’t want to.
3. Do things you enjoy: Remember to do the things you usually enjoy, even if they aren’t enjoyable at the moment to help lift your mood. E.g. playing football, going to the gym, fishing.
4. Eat well and exercise: Improving your physical health by regularly exercising and eating a balanced diet can significantly improve your mental health. Research shows regular exercise is highly effective in managing depression symptoms.
5. Focus on improving your sleep: Research shows that improving your sleep routine can be highly effective in reducing anxiety symptoms. Make sure you go to bed at a similar time each night, and aim to get 7-9 hours.
6. Reduce alcohol or drug intake: Alcohol and drugs significantly negatively impact our mental health and can lead to, or exacerbate anxiety and depression symptoms. If you are feeling low or anxious, try to cut these out completely.
7. Get outside: Getting outside into nature can lift our mood and take ourselves outside of our own heads. Arrange a hike, a trip to the beach or a walk in the park
8. Encourage men in your life to talk about their mental health: Part of the battle with men’s mental health is the stigma surrounding it. By starting the conversation with your mates, you can set the theme, and encourage them to speak up as well. This can be particularly helpful when you are worried about someone, but they are reluctant to open-up.
9. Reach out for psychological support: If you are struggling with your mental health, it is important to get help. Just like if you broke your leg, you would go to a doctor. It is vital to seek psychological treatment if you are feeling anxious or depressed. Access confidential counselling through your Employee Assistance Program, Acacia Connection. Call 1300 364 273, SMS 0401 33 77 11 or visit www.acaciaconnection.com
P: 1300 364 273 (24/7) | SMS or Live Chat: 0401 337 711 | W: acaciaconnection.com