There is a stigma surrounding men’s health, especially mental illness, that constrains the appeal to ask for help. Everyone will experience highs and lows in their lives, but research has shown that men are far less likely to seek help and support than women, especially in rural and remote areas.
Simply speaking out about Men’s health could have the potential to change lives, families and tight-knit communities.
The high levels of stress that can be associated with making a living off the land have proven to have devastating impacts on many people’s lives. This is because there are many elements to primary production that are out of the farmers control such as drought, floods, fire, high prices and other devastating weather and economic patterns. These elements can strike at any time and threaten the farmers ability to make a living and support themselves and their families.
Primary production can at times be cruel to the farmer and even though insurance for such events is available, the cost of it can be just as punishing.
Moreover, for people living in remote areas of Australia, access to services can be very challenging, making it difficult to keep on top of concerns about personal health.
For many health problems, early detection and assistance can be the difference between life and death.
The Royal Flying Doctors Service does an amazing job at bringing health services, which also includes services for rural people suffering from mental illness to people living in remote areas. The RFDS are constantly working to ensure that country people receive the same health care services as people living in the city.
Initiatives like The Ripple Effect, Beyond Blue and The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH), as well as others, are trying to shift the stigma surrounding men’s health. These organisations provide men with the opportunity to anonymously share their story, to seek help and provide the factual information about rural men’s health issues by offering information and support.
Speaking out and sharing your story when you’re doing it tough takes a lot of courage. But by letting your doctor or someone you know that things aren’t ok or just having a conversation and encouraging others to do the same could make a huge difference.
Seeking help for an illness that's worrying you, or asking a friend, family member, work college or general acquaintance if they are ok may be all it takes to change the face of rural men’s health.
So have the conversation and discuss what is going on with the people around you. Likewise make an effort to keep in touch and seek out help when something is not quite right because you may be making more of a difference that you realise.
If you or anyone that you know are suffering from a mental health issue please contact one of the telephone counseling services below:
- Lifeline - 13 11 14
- MensLine Australia - 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 46
- Beyond Blue - 1300 22 46 36
- Kids Helpline - 1800 551 800
- Headspace - 1800 650 890
- The Royal Flying Doctors Service - 08 8238 3395