Shine a Light on Men's Mental Health
During Movember, the month-long fund raising event for men’s health issues, Woven Threads has been reflecting on the importance of shining a light on men’s mental health. Men face hardship just as women do, but are underrepresented in therapy and other wellness initiatives. This is because there are societal barriers in place that prevent men from opening up about their feelings. Because mental illness lies below the physical surface and can often go unseen, it is easier for them to be ignored by people who might find it difficult to be vulnerable with others. Woven Threads explores this issue in Stories from Within: Pete.
Pete is a farmer in north-eastern New South Wales. As a child, Pete wanted to spend every second on the farm, shadowing his dad and spending time outdoors. When the 2018 drought hit, farming turned from something that brought joy to something that brought severe stress and anxiety. Recalling this time, Pete says: a “mountain starting to grow in front of me, I wondered if I’d ever get to the other side of it”. Men are two thirds less likely to seek help for mental distress. As Pete says, he saw no use in going to a doctor to help ease his anxiety - he thought that doctors could only heal broken limbs. Pete’s experience transformed when a fellow farmer opened up to him about a similar experience that he had gone through. These conversations inspired Pete to see a doctor about his mental health, and slowly, “the mountain became a hill”. Pete’s story is an example of the benefits of opening up to others and seeking professional help.
Luckily, a plethora of organisations and initiatives focusing on men’s mental health are beginning to emerge. Companies like Tomorrow Man offer workshops, training and dads groups. Man Anchor is a grassroots organisation that recognises the importance of starting the conversation around men’s mental health. We encourage you to reach out to these or similar organisations if you or someone you know needs some help opening up. It is time that men’s mental health gets the focus that it deserves.
Watch a preview of Stories from Within: Pete here.
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