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Breaking the silence: empowering men to speak up and prioritise their health

In Australia, an average of seven men die by suicide every day, with three times as many men as women taking their lives in 20211. Despite these harrowing figures, only a quarter of men would seek help from a mental health professional if they were experiencing personal or emotional problems2.

A mental illness can be defined as a clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly interferes with a person’s cognitive, emotional and social abilities3. Therefore, these types of behaviours can lead to more serious consequences. In fact, research from The Banyans Healthcare reveals one in five (20%) men admit to having an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and experts are concerned this may be just one sign of unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

Peter Hayton, Chief Psychologist at The Banyans Healthcare, says men speaking out about their mental health is the first step to ensuring that beneficial and productive decisions are being made to adopt healthier coping mechanisms.

“Men can often feel ashamed or embarrassed by their feelings, not wanting to seek help as they don’t want to be perceived as weak or helpless. This mindset in itself is incredibly harmful because as a result, they can then suppress these emotions and find dangerous ways to cope instead – whether this be alcohol, drugs, or other dangerous activities.

“Avoiding professional treatment for mental health can also have social consequences in severe cases. This could include the breakdown of a relationship or losing a job, while loneliness and isolation are also large impacts of poor mental health if left untreated.

“Approaching men’s mental health in a holistic environment helps us to identify the underlying factors and triggers of the individual’s mental health condition. As well as this, we are able to create personalised coping mechanisms to ensure a healthier future for that individual.

While it is vital for men to be open in discussing their mental health, maintaining good physical health is also just as important for overall wellbeing. Interestingly, a third (32%) of adult men aged 18-64 do not fulfil the recommended amount of physical activity, which increases to nearly half (47%) of men aged 65 and over4.

Connor Bloss, Exercise Physiologist at The Banyans Healthcare, further explains that regular exercise is essential in feeling energised and productive and can even have a positive impact on our mental health.

“Prioritising exercise can be difficult, particularly if you work full time or just have a busy life in general. Exercise has great benefits for both physical and mental health, meaning it is important for everyone to get moving every day.

“Exercise releases chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins, which puts us in a good mood and keeps us energised. Physical activity can also be a great outlet for our emotions, taking our minds elsewhere and letting out any negative feelings.

“Having an exercise plan in place can be extremely beneficial, particularly if you are wanting to start exercising but are unsure where to begin. We assess our guests’ current level of fitness, mobility, flexibility and any other existing conditions, and can then tailor exercises that best suit them to help improve their lives and create a healthier lifestyle.

The Banyans Health and Wellness is a private treatment centre located in southeast Queensland. 

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