By Oliver Lees
Men and boys in the Macedon Ranges face barriers accessing mental health support, according to a recent survey.
Led by youth mental health organisation Orygen, in collaboration with the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network and Vic Health, the survey asked males a range of questions seeking their views on what it means to be a man in the Macedon Ranges.
Orygen project lead Simon Rice said that more than half of all men felt pressure to take on
traditional masculine stereotypes such as being the main provider for family.
“Only 55 per cent of people who responded agreed that males in the region are comfortable seeking out health services when they need support,” Professor Rice said.
“Research shows that adherence to these traditional masculine stereotypes is associated with higher rates of suicide, depression and anxiety, risky behaviours such as drink
driving and violence against women.
“A further 57 per cent of respondents agreed that men and boys would not be comfortable talking about their mental health before things reached crisis point.”
The survey also found that the majority of respondents between 16-25 years of age felt they would need to consume alcohol in order to talk about their emotions with friends and family.
Sunbury Cobaw and Community Health (SCCH) general manager Jeremy Hearne said this data would assist in partnering with local services to improve men’s mental health.
“We now have the information we need to start a genuine conversation with the community
on the impact of these attitudes and behaviours on the health of men and boys,” Mr Hearne said.
SCCH manager community mental health Adam Stefano said COVID-19 lockdown restrictions had likely had an impact on youth mental health.
“We did see an increase in demand for our counselling services [during lockdown], especially for young people,” Mr Stefano said.
“Months of home schooling and lack of organised supports had a significant impact on our local young people.”
June 14 to June 20 was recognised as Men’s Health Week.
At a Hume council held on June 15, Cr Trevor Dance said it was important that people cared for their own mental health and the mental health of those around them.
“Check in with a loved one, check in with yourself and have a conversation about how you might encourage conversation,” Cr Dance said.
“Mental Health gets very little attention for men, when the statistics show, it really should be well recognised.”
If you need mental health support, contact Lifeline on: 13 11 14