Men’s mental health update: We are not the same – Is it embedded in our masculinity?

Quite often as blokes we have been told to get in touch with our feminine side. Over time, this narrative has been part of the language barrier that has put bloke’s positive approaches to wellbeing issues and help-seeking in reverse.

There are three parts to our health: physical, mental and social/spiritual wellbeing. The latter is where we find: our identity, our individuality, our own sense of self, our sense of belonging, our passions and interests and our emotional context (not a feminine side!)

DNA in men and women is 99.6% similar, but it is that 0.4% difference that we need to talk about and address, because it helps explain why blokes have a warrior attitude to life and in turn helps explain why we seek help differently.

There are three main areas of difference that we talk about in the work we do.

1. Communication

  • On average blokes will talk one third less than ladies per day (7,000 words to 21,000 words). This starts from a young age, from boys through to men. Anyone with a wife, mother, mother-in-law, daughter, or partner will know this. Ladies, talking is a good thing as it helps address and highlight a whole lot of issues.
  • It is perfectly normal for blokes to talk in dot points, or even just grunt!

2. Risk-taking

  • Blokes are hard wired to take risks from an early age. Some of this is linked to our brain development. The brain development stage for a lady is roughly between the ages of 18 to 20 years, whereas for a bloke it is between the ages of 25 to 28 years (some may say 45 to 50 years!)
  • As we get older, we get wiser, but we are still hard wired to take risks.

3. Winning (an important part of the warrior culture)

  • The majority (90%) of Aussie men think winning is important (a trait that can be traced back to our true warrior days, hunting for survival);
  • An alarming statistic is that 50% of blokes think winning is all that matters. So quite often blokes don’t take a backward step when it comes to finances, relationships and/or business matters.

The importance blokes place on winning, explains why a loss event and/or a sense of loss becomes problematic and can be hard to deal with. Combine this with the lack of understanding of our emotions, and we may be a ticking time bomb.

As blokes, we need to be more aware of our emotions and that it is alright to show them. We will all experience emotional issues throughout our lives. During these times we should openly express our emotions maybe through a hug, or a cry, and/or use language that is foreign to us i.e. I am sad, and/or I am struggling here.

Talk to a Mate®!! It is beneficial, and you will realise that it’s not just you that may be struggling, there’s a lot of other blokes out there feeling the same way.

For more information, or for a chat, call the Regional Men’s Health Initiative on (08) 9690 2277, or visit