Move for Men. The value of talking openly about mental health

In response to the tragic loss of one of our friends, who took his own life in November 2019, Move for Men was created by four friends and me. At the time all of us questioned what we could have done differently. What signs did we miss? Did we not provide a safe environment for him to reach out? and several other unhealthy and guilt driven thoughts which we struggled to process.

It was during our conversations we realised the significance and value of being able to talk to one another openly about how we were feeling and a newfound appreciation for what we shared. In an almost ironic way, our conversations about us not communicating enough forced us to communicate more and made the healing process easier to handle.

We were lucky, we had both friends and opportunity to talk about our shared grief.

The stigma around talking about mental health concerns has significantly improved in recent times. Society now not only recognises but promotes everyone to openly discuss any challenges they may be facing; but there are still large gaps and barriers to find people who you feel comfortable enough with to open up and have honest conversations about your struggles.

This is not always easy, and the research tells us men find these ‘casual’ conversations difficult.

Research from the Australian Institute for Family Studies during COVID-19 found that for men, “Up to 25 percent  experienced a diagnosed mental health disorder in their lifetime, and 15 percent  experienced a disorder in any 12-month period. However, only a quarter of men said they would seek help from a mental health professional if they were experiencing personal or emotional problems.” Loneliness is “significantly associated with experiences of depression and suicidality among Australian men.”

This is where Move for Men comes in.

Move for Men aims to support mental health and wellbeing via walking groups and community-based fund raising and awareness raising events. It’s a source of support, connection, and mateship for all fathers, brothers, sons, mothers, and daughters in the local community. We hope that if we provide an informal, safe, and supportive environment for anyone to discuss any issues they are having, we can help to save lives. We are not counsellors or psychologists; we are simply a starting point for people to start their journey to mental self-betterment by starting that first conversation and providing a safe environment for people to open up.

I was privileged to share this with my team at KPMG. After participating in mental health awareness month in September, we were involved in a mental health morning led by the Black Dog institute. It became abundantly clear KPMG and my team appreciated and supported the values Move for Men instill and committed to support us in undertaking our community events in any way they feel appropriate.

These community events simply support our core ambition, which is to create a platform where anyone, at any time can feel comfortable to reach out when they are struggling and help to save as many lives as we possibly can going forward.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, please reach out through our website or Instagram using the following details. If it is an emergency, please reach out to lifeline on 131 114.

If you need someone to talk with reach out through these links and numbers.

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
Lifeline: 13 11 14

More about Move for Men
Move for Men Movember
Instagrammove_for_men
Website: moveformen.com.au

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