Let’s talk about men’s mental health

Adis counsellor Ricky

Adis counsellor Ricky at Metro North Health’s Biala City Community Health Centre.

Did you know that men make up an average of seven out of every nine suicides each day in Australia? Beyond Blue’s data from last year tells us that alarmingly, many men feel they have nowhere to turn.

For our team at Metro North Health’s Adis 24/7 Alcohol and Drug Support, there’s a focus on detecting mental health conditions early so treatment can be started. If left undetected, it can lead people to isolate themselves and, in many cases, can start taking part in harmful behaviours such as increased substance use.

Ricky is a counsellor at Adis who says it’s always important for men to reach out to their mates and see if they’re okay.

“Check in on your mates, especially if you notice they’re isolating themselves or their behaviour changes even in small ways,” he said.

“I’ve even had my own friends thank me for times I’ve reached out to them, it never goes unnoticed and is always worth doing.”

Men tend to seek support when they’re at their worst, so jumping in as soon as you notice something is off is crucial.

“A lot of men are taught not to show weakness or fear or to be vulnerable, so when men do experience those things, some don’t have the tools to deal with it properly and close themselves off,” he said.

“The men we get calling up are often a bit older and are in a bad way.

“They tend to have harboured feelings for 40 to 50 years.

“It’s almost like a pressure cooker going off and can be very self-destructive.”

Adis is a confidential service that provides care and support to all callers, whether they’re seeking support for themselves or if they’re worried about a family member or friend.

“We get a lot of calls from women asking for guidance on how to support friends or family they’re worried about, but we don’t tend to see this as much with men,” he said.

“If you’re concerned about someone, we can advise how you can help them reduce harm to themselves which is what we try to do in the first instance.

“Self-harm can present in lots of ways, and this can include excessive drinking, drug use, mixing substances or driving under the influence and these may be some signs that someone’s mental health declining.

“Ask them if they’re okay and try to check in more regularly and give us a call.

“At the end of the day, it’s only the person themselves who can make real change, but if they know someone’s got their back, it can help a lot.”

Adis 24/7 Alcohol and Drug Support is a service that provides support for people with alcohol and other drug concerns, their families, friends and health professionals. To reach out, call 1800 177 833.

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