This year I’ve joined the ranks of the bros with the mos and have been doing my bit to support the wonderful work that Movember does in helping to save and improve the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.
We know mental health issues in this country are significant, close to one in eight Australian men will suffer from depression, one in five anxiety and sadly suicide is the leading cause of death for men aged 15 to 44.
Whilst there is some great work being done in breaking down the stigma that has too long been associated with mental health issues we can and need to do better.
I think boys still grow up with the idea that to be a man is to be tough and stoic but perhaps we can create more room for men to also be real and honest about their emotions. It’s up to all of us to check in with our brothers, fathers, husbands and boyfriends and mates.
Not everyone is a talker, although some people may surprise you when you make the effort and show a heartfelt interest. Many years ago I consciously made an effort to build a better connection with my Dad. To my delight it was much easier than I thought, it turns out he’s actually quite chatty, and both our lives are the richer for it.
Some bros just need your hugs. Some men don’t want to talk or be hugged but will still delight in your presence, silently sharing a task, a hobby or an adventure.
Bros and sistas also have the task of encouraging your men to see their doctor and allied health professionals when there’s something wrong. Some men will need to be nagged into regular health checks. Stoicism can mean attempting to put up with lingering pain, persistent cough, or a strange lump or bump for too long with sometimes devastating consequences.
Perhaps someone will pop into your mind as you read this today, someone that might need your support - it’s time to give them a call.