It’s okay to talk men­tal health

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Regional ed­i­tor

IT’S ar­guably the most im­por­tant event on in the Whit­sun­days this week, but most Aussie blokes still don’t want to know about it.

I’m talk­ing about the na­tional aware­ness ini­tia­tive called Men­tal Health Week.

About half of all Queens­lan­ders will ex­pe­ri­ence some form of men­tal ill­ness in their life­time. About one in five will ex­pe­ri­ence a men­tal health is­sue in any one year.

But the re­ally con­cern­ing thing is that most will never speak up or seek help be­cause of the per­ceived stigma, es­pe­cially among men in my age group (50s).

I should know – I was one of those who wouldn’t for fear of ridicule or be­ing per­ceived as weak for ac­knowl­edg­ing I had an is­sue with men­tal health.

‘Har­den up’ you tell your­self, chan­nelling the ig­no­rant blokey mantra of your peers and/or par­ents’ gen­er­a­tion. If only it was that easy.

For me, the re­lief from of­ten crip­pling de­pres­sion came when I fi­nally plucked up the courage to talk to my GP and re­alised I needed to get pro­fes­sional help.

I now know that it wasn’t a sign of weak­ness – it’s the hard­est thing I’ve ever done.

If you won’t do it for your­self, do it for those who care.

Visit qld­men­tal­health week.org.au to get a chat go­ing to­day.

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