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Raising Awareness for Depression in Men in Australia

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has sounded the alarm on depression, describing it as an epidemic that is predicted to rank as the second-highest non-fatal global disease in 20 years, and Australia is not exempt.

Depression is a mental health condition that impacts how a person feels, thinks and acts. Having depression can make a person feel sad, irritable, and find it difficult to enjoy activities that previously brought them joy. 

Unfortunately, depression affects one in eight men during their lifetime. The number of men who die by suicide each year is nearly double the national road toll. By speaking out more about mental health, in particular men’s mental health, it’s hoped that men will feel more comfortable reaching out for help when it’s needed. 

The Stigma Surrounding Men's Mental Health

More women suffer from depression during their lifetime (one in six) than men but women are more likely to ask for help. Part of the reason is the societal stigma associated with men seeking help for mental health issues.

Although there has been progress in recent years in reducing both self-stigma and societal stigma, there are men who are still reluctant to seek help for mental health issues. Because of this, these men are reluctant to talk to close friends or family members about their mental health or wellbeing for fear of looking weak in front of them or feeling ashamed.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Men

It can be hard to recognise depression in ourselves or a loved one, but there are signs that we can look out for. 

Common signs and symptoms of depression in men include:
  • Anger and irritability
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
  • Struggling to concentrate, feeling restless
  • Feeling consistently stressed or anxious
  • Feeling of sadness or hopelessness that persists
  • Physical symptoms including headaches or digestive issues
  • Engaging in high-risk activities
  • Alcohol abuse or drug use
It’s normal to feel some of these symptoms from time to time but if they continue for a prolonged period, it’s advised to seek professional help. If you see a friend or loved one with one or more symptoms persisting, ask them if they would like to talk. 

Strategies for Raising Awareness for Men’s Mental Health

Raising awareness around men’s mental health will help to reduce the stigma around it and encourage men to reach out. We spend much of our life at work and for many, their colleagues spend the most time with them. Workplaces should encourage staff to talk about mental health. 
Providing information on the signs of depression to look out for in yourself and colleagues can help raise awareness.  Encourage the whole organisation to participate in R U Ok? Day to improve workers’ confidence in striking up a conversation about mental health with colleagues, friends and family. 

Mental Health Services For Men

In Australia, we have several mental health hotlines and crisis support services available to provide immediate assistance and support. If you or a loved one are experiencing signs and symptoms of depression, don’t hesitate to contact one of the below service hotlines. 

Lifeline - 24/7 crisis support service that provides confidential telephone counselling and support. Reach them by calling 13 11 13 or chatting to them online.

MensLine Australia - Support and counselling for men who may be dealing with relationship issues, depression, or other mental health challenges. Reach them by calling 1300 78 99

Dads in Distress - Peer support for separated dads,  call 1300 853 437

Beyond Blue - 24/7 support available by calling 300 22 4636. They also have a section dedicated to men’s mental health awareness.

If your organisation offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), promote the free, professional and confidential counselling service regularly. Make sure staff know that it’s easy to access and can be used for any type of issue they may be experiencing - personal or work. 

Altius Group's Commitment to Mental Health

Altius Group is dedicated to workplace health and wellbeing, including mental health. There are a range of services that we provide to organisations to support employees with various mental health challenges. 

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

As an accredited MHFA training provider, we support organisations to provide training to employees by helping them develop their skills to support their colleagues and loved ones. This includes learning how to spot initial signs and symptoms, how to help, and where to get professional help.  

Mental Health Education and Awareness: Online Self-Paced Module

Our mental health training can be delivered face-to-face in small and large groups, or through our online, self-paced, module. Employees will learn about a range of mental health conditions and will develop skills to help those impacted by mental illnesses when needed. 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Our EAP services allow organisations and their employees access to professional, qualified psychologists through free, confidential in-person or telehealth appointments. Options for Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN) or assistance with a bilingual psychologist or interpreter can also be provided if needed. 

While the numbers around men’s mental health and suicide are sobering, there is hope for the future. By continuing to raise awareness about depression in men, we can continue to break down the stigma and encourage more men to seek help for their mental health.    
For more information about Altius Group’s services including mental health treatment and EAP programs, contact us online or call 1800 258 487 for more information. 

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