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Brandon Lee, an Exercise Physiologist with Altius Group, talks us through how and where men from all walks of life can ask for help.

For a long time, the image of a male seeking help has been seen as “unmanly” and that we should just “man up” and move on. For most males, this is either self-perceived, how we were raised, or how society has expected us to deal with issues.

This Men’s Health Week, it’s time to educate, understand and break through the stigma that surrounds males seeking and trying to improve their health. Between June 13-19, dedicate effort to looking after your physical and psychological health. Below are some tips for getting started, why you should look after yourself and how you can achieve this.

How to start asking for help

As with most things, the first step is always the hardest. If you are someone that has never sought help before, it can be daunting to start, but becomes much easier once you start.

If you don’t have one, find a regular GP. Someone that you get along with, found helpful and would be willing to see that person for any health issues that may arise. It’s important to have a GP you can go to as they provide advice and resources, and if they can’t help you themselves, they can direct you to someone that can.

It's never too late to start looking after yourself

If you’ve been putting something off because it’s only minor or because you have something else to do, it’s better to get help later than never. Something that starts off as a minor issue can lead to major issues, and with most medical conditions, the earlier the diagnosis, the chances of recovery are improved.

Why should you seek help?

Reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, published in 2021, 10,822 males died from Coronary Heart Disease. This equates to 45.8% more deaths in this category compared to females and males accounted for 59.3% of all heart-related deaths.

Males accounted for 75.9% of deaths by suicide. Of the nine Australians that take their life daily, seven of them will be male.

3,611 deaths were recorded due to prostate cancer. This is nearly 10 deaths per day.

Your health is important and so are you.

Your health not only affects you, but also the people in your life who rely on you. Whether they be a parent, a partner, a sibling, or a child. If your health deteriorates, it can have a massive impact on those people’s lives as well.

Where can you get help

As mentioned above, a GP is a good place to start. They can then refer on to allied health professionals such as Exercise Physiologists, Psychologists, Physiotherapists and many more, as well as referring to specialised doctors.

If you have a chronic disease (a condition that has been present for more than 6 months), you can get five subsidised appointments to an Allied Health Professional per calendar year.

Your workplace might offer the Employee Assistance Program. These are free, completely confidential sessions and you can receive up to six appointments. The program is designed to enhance the emotional, mental, and general psychological well-being of employees. The sessions can consist of professional counselling, health promotion and exercise programs.

If you require immediate help with a mental health condition, helplines are available 24/7 through Beyond Blue, Lifeline and specific statewide organisations.

What are some ways you can look after yourself right now?

Exercise! The physical, psychological and social benefits of exercise are endless, and there’s a reason why it’s often called the best medicine available. 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day is all that’s needed to start seeing the benefits that exercise can provide.

Improve your sleep hygiene and make sure you’re getting the required number of hours that your body needs.

Plan some time for just yourself to relax, do a hobby and leave the world behind for an hour or two.

It’s not just for you but for all males

As a society, we’re more likely to do something if we see someone else do it first. Seeing males seek help can encourage and inspire other males to get help themselves. The more we do and the more we talk about it, the easier it will be on the future generation of males to get the help that’s needed.

You don’t need to wait for that change, you can help others now. Ask your mate how they’re doing, spread the word of Men’s Health Week and together, we can help remove the stigma surrounding men and getting help.