depressed man on stepsWHILE nearly three million Australians live with depression and anxiety, only 35 per cent access treatment and just 25 per cent of men ask for help.

A Gosnells psychology clinic believes Men’s Health Week is a perfect time to encourage men to tackle their mental health issues.

The Pysch Centre said while there had been some inroads in men battling mental illness, many still bottled up their emotions rather than discussing issues |affecting them.

Manager Jo Robinson said Men’s Health Week, which runs from June 12-18, was a great time to encourage men to come out of their shell and overcome the stigma surrounding battling mental illness.

“There’s a very strong culture of ‘if men show emotion, they’re weak’,” she said.

“We find men will tell other men what’s happening but it all gets shut down and it all gets talked about ‘you’ll be all right’, so they go underground with it.

“It could happen to any of us any place, any time and that’s the way the community should |approach it.”

Ms Robinson said while attitudes towards battling depression had improved, many men were still unwilling to talk about anxiety and were more prone to using denial to cope.

“Anxiety is the topic most people don’t talk about that much, yet it’s incredibly crippling,” she said.

“Men are certainly more open to talk when they’ve got clinical depression and they’re not functioning but in layman’s terms, when they’ve got lower grade |depression they still just function.”

Clinical psychologist Anna Granston said men were generally more likely to ignore warning signs and not look for help for long periods.

“One of the latest statistics shows one in eight men will get depression diagnosed and one in five men will be with diagnosed with anxiety,” she said.

“Out of everyone who suicides, 75 per cent of men are under the age of 54. That indicates the men don’t talk as much as women.

“It’s like a tap. Men will try fiddle around with it and not call the plumber, they do it with mental health until it’s really severe and someone has maybe guided them.”

Ms Robinson said there needed to be more information about how to help people battling severe depression.

“If someone approaches you about the fact they can’t get up (out of bed), don’t give them: ‘Go for a walk’, because they can’t. Talk to them about where they are, give them skills for that, which is about how to get through the next 24 hours and make sure they see a professional,” she said.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.

This piece by Ben Smith was first seen on ‘Community Comment News’ June 13 2017.

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