Between 11th-17th June is Men’s Health Week – a week aimed at encouraging all men to start a conversation about their health and wellbeing with someone they trust. A really important aspect of men’s health, which we need to create greater awareness around, is men’s mental health. This is especially considering that:
- 1 in 6 men suffer depression
- very few men with anxiety and depression seek treatment
- every minute of every day 1 man dies from suicide
Many men forego treatment and don’t speak up about mental health issues because they view it as weak and that it’s their job to be strong. It can take a lot of courage for men to speak up and admit they have a problem and its our role to support the men in our lives and to let them know that they are no less of a man for reaching out.
How can we help support men’s mental health?
- Encourage men to speak up even if its just by asking ‘R u ok?’ – talking to someone is proven to save lives
- Help men to understand they do have options and a way ‘out’ of darkness
- Spend more time together as a family – whether its bonding over dinner or going for a walk on weekends, every small amount of time counts
- Eat together as a family – even if its just one meal per day – breakfast or dinner, this can be a time men look forward to and know they are part of something
- Encourage men to get out and exercise as exercise boosts endorphins and feel good hormones – exercise can be a way for men to connect with others too whether it be a team sport or group exercise class – connection with others fosters good mental health
- Prioritise a healthy diet for your family as diet has a huge impact on how we feel day to day, such as:
- Eating regularly to help support blood glucose levels. Poor blood sugar balance can lead to impaired tryptophan (amino acid) delivery to the brain, which results in low serotonin production, our feel good hormone.
- Protein, complex carbs and healthy fats at each meal. Protein provides essential amino acids which play a critical role in production of neurotransmitters and carbs are needed to transport amino acids to the brain. The brain is 60% fat so it only makes sense that healthy fats are critical for the proper functioning of the chemical messengers in our brain, controlling mood and emotions.
- Reducing alcohol intake –alcohol is a depressant and can also negatively impact our food choice around drinking. There is an undeniable link between drinking and mental health issues. If you have noticed that drinking has become a problem for any of the men in your life, encourage them to seek help as early intervention has a much higher success rate than letting it continue on.
For more information and ways to support men, visit:
- Gotcha4Life – https://gotcha4life.org/
- MensLine Australia – https://mensline.org.au/
- Black Dog Institute – https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
- Beyond Blue – https://www.beyondblue.org.au/