12 Dec Men’s Mental Health is an Issue: What can we do every day to manage this?
Mental health statistics in Australia are not great at the best of times, but as we are in the lead up to International Men’s Day we felt it important to focus on the consistent issue of men’s mental health.
We are all aware of the ‘bloke culture’ and hopefully over time this will evolve and become less of a stigma for so many.
In the meantime, let’s look at some statistics:
- 75% of suicides in Australia are men
- At age 25 years, male deaths are more than twice as common as female deaths
- Aussie men are significantly less likely to seek treatment from a GP than Australian women
- An estimated 72% of Australian males don’t seek help for mental ill-health
Addressing these statistics will take time, effort and an entire culture change. As a society it may be years before we make headway, this is why it’s important to address what we can do in our everyday lives to manage our mental health or those of our loved ones.
Haven Psychology wanted to provide all gentlemen with some quick tips on how to manage stress and anxiety.
Ways to Manage Men’s Mental Health on a Daily Basis
Using your Social Connections
During times when you feel like you’re struggling, it’s even more important to try and make an effort to maintain good relationships and talk to people whenever you get the chance.
It may seem like a struggle and your motivation might be low, but we know how effective it can be. Friends are important not just for your self-esteem, but also for providing support when you’re not feeling too great.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have even gone so far to explain that a ‘bromance’ can have healthful effects similar to those seen in romantic relationships, especially when dealing with stress.
Find Ways to Take Time Out
Keeping stress to an absolute minimum is arguably one of the most vital things anyone can do about their mental health.
Stress in some doses can be beneficial as it can drive motivation, but we need to make sure we take time out to de-stress in equal measure. This is often difficult to do because we are so constantly being pushed and pulled in our everyday lives, trying to juggle family, work, hobbies etc.
Keeping stress at bay is something that we can find to be enormously satisfying, and it makes a huge difference to anybody’s mental health, so be sure to think about that as much as possible.
Time out doesn’t have to be massages and meditation, it could simply be doing something you love. A trip to the coast for a fishing session? Going for a country drive? Working out at the gym? Even perhaps playing your favourite video game? All can help you get that valuable time out your body and mind yearn for.
Avoid Abusing your Body
For most of us, we reach Friday afternoon and all we can think of is a well-earned drink…it’s our way of relaxing after the busy work week.
Drinking and smoking aren’t things which we always associate with withdrawal symptoms, but they can cause some which impact on your mental health. When you’ve had a few drinks, you can feel more depressed and anxious the next day, and it can be harder to concentrate.
Excessive drinking for prolonged periods can leave you with a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is important for our brain function and a deficiency can lead to severe memory problems, motor (coordination) problems, confusion and eye problems. If you smoke, between cigarettes your body and brain go into withdrawal which makes you irritable and anxious.
These are all something you need to consider when you reach for that next drink.
Speak to a Professional
Speaking to a professional is an answer that many don’t want to hear – that stigma we mentioned previously comes into play.
Professional help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you are able to recognise your body and are strong enough to act to help address this. The saying goes, “you see a doctor when you’re not feeling well, so why not see a professional when your mind isn’t well”, so perhaps it’s time to accept this?
Talking to your GP is the first step to gaining a referral to see a psychologist or you can book in directly. Your enquiry is treated with respect and the process is relaxed and calm, there is no need to expect a long and arduous journey.
Over all as a society we place a lot of expectations on the men in our lives, but we also need to ensure we are offering our support if these men reach out to or need to lean on us.
Statistics are something we hear about each day and taking small actions as we have outlined above are our first steps to help reduce the numbers portrayed in the media.