Program targets men's taboo subject
FOR the most part, men are the tough, stoic ones who can fix anything with a hammer and nail, fend off nightmares and monsters with their words and heal a wound with one magic touch.
But sometimes it is those who stand so strong that need a helping hand once in a while.
Statistics show men are three times as likely to commit suicide than women, and it kills twice as many men as car accidents.
Service manager for Mental Health Southern Tracey Morgan said it was up to friends and family to notice the signs of depression and act.
"People need to be prepared to reach out and ask 'are you OK? Do you want to have a yarn?'," Ms Morgan said.
Approaching men can often be more difficult than women, as they can become defensive and are sometimes in denial that they need professional help.
"Just talk to them, ask the question," Ms Morgan said.
"Encourage them to see a mental health service and their first port of call should be their GP or local hospital."
Yesterday, Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler met with beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett and Dr Brian Ironwood to launch their new campaign, Man Therapy.
The Man Therapy campaign is the first of its kind in Australia and urges men to "have the balls" to take action on depression and anxiety while reminding them that a real man looks out for his mates.
The campaign messages will direct people to Dr Ironwood's website, mantherapy.org.au, where he will guide them through activities to assess their wellbeing, offer answers to frequently asked questions and advise them on how to take action to deal with depression and anxiety.
Man Therapy is a multi-million dollar campaign that has been funded entirely by the Federal Government in response to Australia's male suicide problem and Mental Health Minister Mark Butler said he expected the campaign to be hugely successful.
"To get the message across to men, we needed something creative and funny and I think beyondblue has nailed it with Man Therapy," Mr Butler said.
"We know from the ABS that the number of men who died by suicide in 2011 is almost twice the number who died on the roads that year which means suicide currently ranks as the biggest killer of Australian males aged between 15 and 44."
It is time for the people of the Southern Downs to notice the signs, ask the question and you may just save someone's life.
Help for those with depression or suicidal thoughts is available:
- headspace 4661 1999
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- beyondblue 1300 22 4636