Stress, anxiety and other mental health concerns affect everyone from time to time. In fact, one in eight Australians currently report experiencing a high level of psychological distress. With rising levels of unemployment, increased uncertainty and health at the forefront of people’s minds, it is more important than ever that we create room for a positive discussion about our mental health.

Old stereotypes and stigmas will often prevent men from seeking support with research indicating that only 27.5% of men with mental disorders access professional help. Male dominated industries such as trade work can be particularly problematic when it comes to open discussions about mental health.

August is Tradie’s National Health Month which highlights the importance of maintaining physical and mental health on the worksite. Physical injury is just the tip of the iceberg for those working in the trade industry as research shows that Tradies are six times more likely to die from suicide than workplace accidents.

With this in mind and considering the fact that the trade industries are still male dominated, our team has dedicated this month’s episode of the Unleash the Beast podcast to discussing men’s mental health. This episode, entitled ‘Shift Happens’, is hosted by Matt Gregg, Manager for Community Engagement at Lifeline Darling Downs, and features an insightful discussion with Dan and Ed from TradeMutt, a workwear brand with a mission to open a dialogue about mental health, and Bella Reynolds, a highly skilled health and wellness coach who has worked with countless men transitioning from mining into other industries.

"It's amazing what happens when you get a little bit of momentum. All you need to do is get those wheels in motion..."

The team discusses how making progress, staying well and moving through your circumstances involves owning your situation and emotions, and thinking and acting deliberately and consciously. Once we have done this, we are then empowered to take three key steps that will make ‘Shift Happen’.

1. Embrace the fear.

Change is constant and scary…so too are all the emotions that come with it. Sometimes it feels easier to simply put our head in the sand and pretend like there is nothing happening. However, this only serves to deepen the crisis. Our guests discuss the importance of embracing the fear of change and even the fear we have concerning our own emotions in order to start moving through the tough circumstances we face.

2. Take little steps.

The old saying tells us, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”. The same is true for making positive change and practicing self-care. The journey towards a healthy life and healthy mind starts by taking little steps. In this way, success is not measured by where we end up, but by the fact that we are moving forward to where we want to be. Our guests encourage those listening to the podcast, no matter where they are right now, to just take the first step towards self-improvement and seeking help.

3. Reaching out to someone you trust.

Whether it’s an anonymous call to a helpline such as Lifeline (call now 13 11 14) or MensLine Australia (call now 1800 78 99 78) or it’s talking to your best mate, it’s important to reach out to a trustworthy person when we aren’t coping well. It’s often been said that a problem shared is a problem halved and even though it might feel strange, when we’re struggling one of the best things we can do is reach out.

The aim of conversations like these is to chip away at the stigma and misinformation surrounding mental illness and self-care and break down the outdated stereotypes of masculinity and stoicism that can be incredibly dangerous to Australian men.

"Sometimes men don't know how to seek help, and they are not really sure how to be a safe place for others to seek help"

No matter who you are or what you might be dealing with, there are people available to help you cope with any stress, anxiety and other mental health concerns you may be experiencing. A positive approach to our mental health starts with taking ownership of our circumstances and then acting deliberately to seek help and be a help for others.

You can listen to this podcast and other Unleash the Beast conversations right now on Spotify, Apple and Wooshkaa. Also, click here to download the show notes.

As always, if you or someone you know is experiencing crisis please call 13 11 14, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or text 0477 13 11 14 between 6pm and midnight 7 days a week.

For all other enquiries you can contact Lifeline Darling Downs on 1300 991 443.