Since 2014 the WACFL has partnered with The Regional Men's Health Initiative in an effort to address the issues that men face throughout their lifetimes, particularly those in regional areas. Each year we host the Talk to Mate Men's Wellbeing Round which is aimed at letting blokes know that it is okay to open up and talk about any troubles they may be facing.
The message The Regional Men’s Health Initiative gives in everything it does is “… before it all gets too much… Talk to a Mate!! or talk it over”.
It is important for us to talk about issues in our life or tell our story so we can realise we are not alone and that it is safe to do so. As blokes we quite often isolate ourselves and we go into our cave and don’t talk to anyone about our stuff. Now that’s all right, as long as we remember to come out of the cave. One of the problems is we don’t identify who our true mates are in the good times, this then leads to isolation and loneliness which are often precursors for other wellbeing issues.
Who are our Mates?
We say as blokes we have three broad categories of mates to talk to about our stuff or tell our story to. These usually come under the categories of a mentor, a partner and a peer.
These mates are quite often different from the associates or the mates that we play sport with and/or socialise with. Think about the blokes you know who have no one to talk to!
What is the benefit of talking to a Mate?
It’s about sharing your story, and the value there is in realizing that there are other men experiencing similar things (no matter what the issue). I have never met a bloke yet who hasn’t wanted to tell his story. Sometimes we just need the right environment!
Men are hardwired to be “problem solvers” and we like to work alone in our own cave. We often have an attitude that if we disclose we have a few problems someone will exploit our problem or weakness. It is well known that problems shared are often problems halved and helping men to overcome their isolation and independence may help stop them being overwhelmed when difficulties and disappointments come their way.
As men we need to encourage help seeking when needed, and be prepared to “Talk to a Mate” when we know he is down or experiencing difficulties. It isn’t rocket science and it does work.
Ask three times if concerned!
If you have a gut feel that someone you know is not travelling well, ask them how they are going, more than once! We can all be that mate to someone at some time, most often it is as simple as listening. Talk to a mate!! It will help.
Find out more about The Regional Men's Health Initiatve Here.