Time for a shout out to all the fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, grandfathers, husbands, colleagues and mates – you are awesome. Big, small, thin, tall, quiet, loud – you’re awesome. Thank you for your strong arms and kind hearts, for the long days and weekend work, for standing on the sidelines freezing at footy games, for helping with homework, for belly laughs and bear hugs, for beers and boat trips, for all the things you say and all the things you leave unsaid, for sharing your past and your present – warts and all – thank you.
Whether you’re a blokey bloke or a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy), you make a difference to those around you. You are important. We know, you get uncomfortable with the mushy stuff but it’s important to tell you because you probably don’t hear it enough. And we know, you say that it doesn’t matter, but it does. It’s important that you know that you are valued and appreciated for all of your achieveMENts, large and small. You make our lives richer just by being in them.
Believe us, we like having you around, which is why this year Men’s Health Week celebrates the many wonderful contributions men make to our lives. As we want you to stay put for as long as you can, Men’s Health Week is also a time to encourage you to get healthy. More men die of (mostly) preventable diseases compared to women, at alarmingly high rates. This includes suicide: it’s in the top five causes of death for Australian males. It’s time to man up, discuss the stats (we’re not talking about footy stats, either) and start taking care of yourselves and the men in your lives.
The statistics relating to male suicide are scary, so get ready for them:
- At least six people die by suicide in Australia every day. Five of these are men. That’s 83%.
- Men 80 years or older have the highest rate of suicide of any age/gender group in the country. Middle aged men (30 – 49) have the next highest.
- In 2011, the total number of male suicides in Australia was 1,727. That’s the equivalent of three and a half Boeing A380 aircrafts.
There are many factors that are linked to suicide or suicidal behaviour, including but not limited to mental illness, anxiety and depression. An acute situational crisis, such as the death of a loved one, personal or familial illness/injury or extreme financial duress may also lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviours.
We all feel sad from time to time but it’s important to recognise and acknowledge the symptoms of depression; the Mind Quiz at beyondblue’s ManTherapy is a great place to start if you want to give yourself a quick mental health check. Depression and related mood disorders will affect one in eight Australian men during their lifetime. Put another away, the number of men currently suffering depression (diagnosed or undiagnosed) in Australia is 4.5 times the crowd at the footy Grand Final at the MCG. Seriously.
Think about it. You probably know eight blokes. Statistically, that means that at least one of you will suffer from depression. Which is why Men’s Health Week is so important, a reminder to reach out to the men in your lives and lend a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen or simply by spending some quality time together.
So, back to how awesome you are – we appreciate you. We really do. So this week, celebrate a mate, a brother, a father or a son who makes a difference in your life.
For 24/7 crisis support, contact:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78
For more information on suicide, depression and other mental health issues, visit:
beyondblue Support Service
1300 22 4636 or www.beyondblue.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service
SANE Australia Helpline
1800 18 SANE (7263) or www.sane.org