Our knowledge surrounding mental illness remains incomplete, but there are a few things we know for certain. “Mental illness isn’t laziness, attention-seeking, bad diet, mental, physical or spiritual weakness or a failure of character. Mental illness is illness, as real as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.3”
There is no immunity to mental illness and there’s no vaccine to prevent it. At least 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness during their lives. Anxiety disorders are the most common, followed by depression3. In Australia, 40% of women who experience symptoms of a mental illness seek help from health services. For men, it’s fewer than 30%4.
Connecting with others is vital for our health. Research reveals that feeling loved and valued by others gives us a sense of connection, security, purpose, and happiness1. However, working aged men don’t talk about mental health with their friends or family. They are also resistant to receiving professional treatment. They are the victims of problematic thinking that says mental health disorders are unmanly signs of weakness2.
Everyone’s mental health fluctuates during their life, particularly in response to different stressors and stimuli. But when you’re feeling down, taking the steps to get some support is the responsible thing to do.
It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of mental illness. Everyone feels sad, angry, stressed or flat sometimes. These sentiments are part of a healthy and full range of emotions and are usually nothing to worry about5. However, if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, they shouldn’t be ignored and left untreated. Men are much more likely to recognise the physical symptoms rather than the emotional signs of depression. This can include feeling tired all the time and fluctuation in weight5.
If you feel like you need some additional support, there are many non-judgemental channels that you can reach out to for help. Examples of resources are like BeyondBlue, Lifeline Crisis Chat, LivingWithAnxiety.com, and The Mood Network, which is a patient-powered research network for bipolar and other mood disorders.
- Share the Journey – 2017 Mental Health Month Theme. Retrieved October 09, 2017, from http://mentalhealthmonth.wayahead.org.au/share-the-journey-2017-mental-health-month-theme/
- See the new Man Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved October 09, 2017, from http://mantherapy.org/about
- Fact vs myth: mental illness basics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 09, 2017, from https://www.sane.org/mental-health-and-illness/facts-and-guides/fvm-mental-illness-basics
- Fact vs myth: treatment & recovery. (n.d.). Retrieved October 09, 2017, from https://www.sane.org/mental-health-and-illness/facts-and-guides/fvm-treatment-and-recovery
- Beyondblue [Internet]. beyondblue - Home. [cited 2017Oct11]. Available from: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/men/know-the-signs-and-symptoms