International Men's Day

13 Nov, 2017

Men supporting themselves to be mentally healthy is of great importance. Currently in WA, with the mining boom over, the common stresses include job losses, wage stagnation and adjusting to life after the boom.

For men who are dealing with these stresses, there can be a range of feelings and associated thoughts, such as thinking they have let their family down if they are unable to continue to bring home a wage because of job loss. They might feel like they don’t know what to do to deal with such thoughts and feelings, or how to have a place with family and friends now that they are without a job, and/or are having financial worries.

As a man dealing with these stresses, you are faced with a range of different strategies for coping. Some men use alcohol or drugs to cope, and often this creates further problems. At times the only solution seems to be to suicide. Sometimes men will keep their struggle to themselves, with the good intention not to worry others, or because they believe that they should be able to deal with it themselves. They may believe that their situation reflects badly on them, and they feel like they have failed, that there is something wrong with them.

What is clear is that the coping strategies that lead to resilience through difficult and stressful times are ones that involve the following principles:

  • “A problem shared is a problem halved” – reaching out to trusted family members and friends to share your worries acknowledges your normal human need to connect with others in both good times and hard times. As they can’t read your mind, you need to make the first move.
  • Remember the things that you enjoy doing – and make a deal with yourself to spend time doing it as regularly as possible. If it has been costly, find something that gives you a similar experience, but without the cost. For example, if previously you were able to run a boat, find ways to be near water, such as walking on the beach, by the river, by a lake, going fishing.
  • Think about inviting a friend or family member to share enjoyable activities. If you don’t have someone with whom to share what you enjoy, find out through the local library or noticeboards if there is a group that provides the companionship in the activity you enjoy.
  • Acknowledge your losses, major life changes bring losses. Feeling the loss is a healthy and normal response to such changes.
  • Consider seeking counselling support if you are finding that you are struggling with negative thoughts and painful feelings. If you are finding these are affecting your sleep and your mood, this is a sign that getting professional help could be helpful.

Relationships Australia WA has both a counselling service, and offers specific courses for men around being a Dad, managing feelings and being in a relationship.

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