WHY IT’S TIME TO MAN UP
THIS POWERFUL NEW SERIES EXPLORES TRADITIONAL NOTIONS OF MASCULINITY – AND HOW THE PRESSURE TO TOUGHEN UP IS COSTING YOUNG MEN THEIR LIVES.
The biggest killer of Australian men aged 15 to 45 is not drink, or drugs, or car crashes – it’s themselves. Unfortunately, Sydney Triple M radio host Gus Worland knows the stats only too well. Ten years ago, he lost mate Angus to suicide, one of the 2000 Aussie men who take their own lives every year. It’s a shocking and truly horrifying figure. Now, Worland’s decided to do something about it, starring in a new three-part ABC series, Man Up, with a mission to challenge what masculinity means, to get men talking about their problems, and save lives.
GQ: Why did you want to get involved in this project? Gus Worland:
Initially, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to talk about Angus. We still talk about suicide in a whisper because we want to be respectful – it’s not something we want to shout from the rooftops – but for me, [the show] was an opportunity to work out some things I’d put to the back of my mind. I also thought I’d learn something, which of course I did.
GQ: What stuck with you? GW:
When I found out that the No.1 way for a 15 to 45-year-old Australian male to lose his life is to take his own – that still shocks me today. It’s just unbelievable.
GQ: What were some of the hardest moments to film? GW:
My evening at Lifeline was incredible and sad – so many phone calls every single day. But the thing that got to me the most was talking to Angus’s wife and daughter. I hadn’t really spoken to them since he’d taken his own life, except having a hug the day of the funeral. That was an emotional moment.
GQ: Why launch this campaign now? GW:
The conversation has to start now because in my Dad’s generation, you were weak [if you showed emotion], so they just suppressed everything. My generation are about 50/50, where some are able to show emotion and others aren’t, and now the next generation will hopefully break down that stereotype. At the moment, too many Aussie blokes would prefer to kill themselves than show that vulnerability.
GQ: How do we get men to talk about issues? GW:
By taking away the stigma of being weak or ‘girly’. We’ve just got to get to the point where someone should be able to walk up to their mum, dad, best mate or whoever, and talk openly about how they truly feel without being judged. To get there is going to take more than this program, but it might ignite some discussions that keep the conversation going. Right now, we’re losing five young Aussies a day and it’s just unacceptable. Man Up debuts October 11, 8.30pm on ABC and iview