Dave talks with Josh Miller. about Mates4Mates during international men’s health week
With depression and anxiety affecting millions of Australian men, Mates4Mates is raising awareness of the importance of mindfulness and emotional regulation to improve quality of life.
Mates4Mates specialises in providing rehabilitation and support services for current and ex-serving ADF men and women with injuries, including mental health issues, and their families.
For Men’s Health Week (June 10-16), the charity is encouraging men to take three simple steps to assist with regulating their emotions when feelings of distress, like anger or anxiety, arise.
Currently, in Australia, it’s estimated that one in five men will experience depression and one in eight will experience anxiety, all risk factors for suicide. Men make up 75 per cent of all suicide deaths.
Mates4Mates psychologist Chris McIntyre encouraged men of all ages to put evidence-based strategies in place to help manage their mental wellbeing.
“One: Practice mindfulness. Daily mindfulness helps us become more aware of our thought patterns, emotions and how they impact our reactions to events or triggers. Mindfulness helps us observe what is going on, allowing us to fully participate in the moment and act non-judgementally to thoughts and feelings. To get started download an app, like Smiling Mind or Headspace, to guide you through.
“Two: Remember to STOPP. This stands for Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Pull back for perspective and Practice what works. STOPP helps us effectively address and manage emotional responses that are challenging, difficult or that cause anger.
“Three: Use sensory skills. You can manage emotional states using sight, sound, taste or touch. For example, if you become distressed, eating something sour can bring you back into the present, or using a weighted blanket helps you focus on touch, or even doing a push-up or intense exercise.
“Everyone can experience strong emotional responses at times, but it’s important to understand that there are ways to help stop negative thoughts and feelings from spiralling.
“While it’s imperative that if symptoms persist, you see a health care professional, we can all take small steps to improve our mental wellbeing from day-to-day.”
Mr McIntyre said speaking out and asking for help would also help further reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and encourage more men to seek help.
“Use Men’s Health Week as a time to check in on your mates and think about your own mental health and reach out if you need support,” he said.
Mates4Mates offers psychology services to current and ex-serving ADF men and women and their families, in addition to other wellbeing programs. For more information visit mates4mates.org or phone 1300 4 MATES.