As a Counsellor and Psychotherapist in private practice, I am aware of the escalation and prevalence of men’s mental health issues over recent months.
Of course, COVID–19 has not helped. However, in many cases the signs were already there, COVID just brought these people over the doorstep.
Presenting symptoms and stories include depression, anxiety and tension, feelings of being overwhelmed with responsibility, reduced tolerance levels, competitiveness, anger, low confidence and self-esteem issues, burnout, insomnia, relationship difficulties, PTSD, alcohol dependency, and more.
Fortunately, there is much that can be done with early therapeutic intervention.
Skills and strategies that can break through unhelpful long held beliefs, habits and recurring patterns, a place to be heard with genuine regard and effective communication, an environment in which to set in place a way forward, a plan with steps, all with regular review and follow-up.
Like any form of early intervention, this may prevent long term problems occurring and may well alleviate the need for more serious forms of treatment to occur.
When we look at the healthcare of our men in Australia, it is evident that many symptoms have gone undetected for far too long resulting in the alarming statistics now recorded in men’s mental health including men’s suicide.
There needs to be an emphasis placed on a planned approach to ensure that men and boys of all ages feel empowered and comfortable to reach out and access the help they need in the very early stages of not feeling well, whether mentally, emotionally or physically.
In centuries and decades past, the female gender was charged with the duty of seeking help for the overall health issues of the family, including immunisations, coughs, colds, lumps, bumps, behavioural matters, learning difficulties, fertility, change of life, aging etc etc, whilst the male trudged off to work to earn the wage.
If the male became ill, the hope was the cause would ‘fix’ itself or be hidden away, because anything too serious was just not an option. And so, society learned to be less considerate when it came to the issue of men’s health and now we have this real problem.
Well, we need to act to remove these archaic stigmas and outdated practices. For mental health specifically, no-one finds it easy to put a hand up to say ‘please help’.
However, if there was a shift in attending to our mental health, equal to that of how we attend to our physical wellbeing, the statistics would certainly change in the affirmative.
Governments and health professionals working together to sell the message that all forms of health, across all genders, and age groups, are equally important to address with early intervention.
This could help save lives, and save our nation, billions.