Breaking the silence
THE man behind the Anzac Day haka that went viral says men need to learn to express themselves for their own health.
Haka For Life founder Leon Ruri encouraged men to speak about their problems and not suffer in silence during Men’s Health Week, which was held from June 11 to 17.
The Canning Vale resident has battled mental health issues in the past stemming from the sexual and physical abuse he suffered in his youth.
“I’ve used drugs and drinking as coping mechanisms, I had a marriage breakdown, I’ve had to challenge restraining orders,” he said.
“I’m a solo dad; my four teenagers live with me but I’ve seen challenges of not being able to see your children.
“I’ve suffered depression and wanted to commit suicide, but I’ve got things in place like counselling, yoga, meditation.”
Mr Ruri said he found many men did not know Men’s Health Week existed and that it was vital men spoke about their problems.
“It’s very important for men to be aware of state of mind and it’s important for this week to be promoted,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity to create a platform for a community and nation of men for sharing the positives and negatives to enable men to see they’re not alone in what they’re going through in life.”
Mr Ruri said he created Haka For Life to help break the stigma of silence.
“Men live and die in silence and when the haka is performed, there is no silence,” he said.
“When you perform the haka, it’s a demonstration of men creating noise, it is full body expression. When you are doing the haka, you are vulnerable, which is really at essence of what men don’t do a lot.
“It’s about getting people comfortable with getting uncomfortable and expressing themselves.”
■ If you or someone you know is in need of help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org. au/gethelp.
Leon Ruri wants to make more people aware of Men’s Health Week.