Men’s Health Week: A Spotlight on Mental Wellness for Men

Men’s Health Week: A Spotlight on Mental Wellness for Men

This week marks the 30th anniversary of International Men’s Health Week, an event that aims to highlight the factors affecting men’s health and raise awareness about the support and services available to meet these needs. In Australia, it is estimated that up to one in five men have experienced a significant mental health problem in the past 12 months, including depression, anxiety, substance use (alcohol or drugs), and self-harm. Over their lifetime, 42% of men will experience a mental health disorder. In fact, mental health disorders now rank as the second most prevalent type of serious illness among men in Australia.

At Ramsay Psychology, we recognise the importance of providing services that are accessible, relevant, and specifically tailored to men’s mental health. We understand the unique challenges some men face when seeking help for a mental health concern. Men are almost half as likely as women to consult a health professional for mental health issues. Often, men first reach out to their General Practitioner (GP). However, of those who do consult their GP, only 40% subsequently see a mental health professional.

There are cultural, social, and practical barriers that discourage many men from seeking professional help for their health. Men may feel embarrassed about their mental health due to stigma; they may not know how to access professional treatment, they may not understand that their symptoms reflect a mental health condition, or they may downplay their feelings, thinking it’s “no big deal” because others might feel the same way.

Friends and family play a crucial role in breaking down these barriers and ensuring that men receive expert help, even if they don’t know how to ask for it. Mental health issues often manifest themselves in various symptoms such as irritability, unexplained digestive issues, headaches, sleeplessness, unexplained fatigue, confusion, sexual issues, and diet and lifestyle-related issues. These symptoms can be subtle and easily overlooked, but they are often indicative of underlying mental health conditions.

This Men’s Mental Health Week, we encourage you to take a moment to think about the men in your life. How are they really doing? Is there more to their story than just physical symptoms? Could they benefit from speaking to a mental health professional, such as a psychologist? It’s important to remember that mental health issues are common and very treatable with practical techniques and solutions.

Moreover, it’s essential to create an environment where men feel comfortable discussing their mental health. Encourage open conversations about mental health and reassure them that seeking help from an expert such as a psychologist is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you notice any changes in their behaviour or mood, gently suggest that they might benefit from speaking to a professional.

Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s never too late to seek help. We hope that by raising awareness and understanding this Men’s Mental Health Week we can break the stigma and encourage men to seek professional help of their mental health.

Author: Chris Floyd BPsychSc(Hons)- Senior Psychologist -Ramsay Psychology Erina