How to tell if someone around you is struggling

 

AUSTRALIANS are effected by mental health in different ways.

You may know someone with a mental health illness or you may have one yourself.

According to Beyond Blue, on average one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives.

Men make up an average six out of every eight suicides every single day in Australia.

The number of men who die by suicide in Australia every year is nearly double the national road toll.

With mental illnesses being so common, it's essential that people know the signs if someone around them is struggling.

 

Peta Bobbine is one of many whose life has been affected by mental health illnesses, after losing her brother Luke to suicide in 2018.

He served in the Afghanistan war and "never came back the same".

From this, Peta and her mum Leah Bobbine started a foundation called Build a Brotherhood. The foundation helps men living with mental illnesses share their struggles.

"We realised that there was a massive lack of support for males and their mental health so that's when Leah and I decided to create Build a Brotherhood," Peta said.

"It's just gotten bigger and bigger over time because of the different needs of men."

Creators of Build a Brotherhood, Peta and Leah Bobbine
Creators of Build a Brotherhood, Peta and Leah Bobbine

Twice a month, Build a Brotherhood holds free support groups for men in Melbourne.

"After I lost my brother we started holding support groups at Lilydale Lake. There were two men that came. However from first couple of sessions we realised what we were doing and how it was helping people," Peta said.

"Men carry a lot of pain and they sometimes haven't spoken about it for years.

The support sessions include a basic life skills course that was created by Leah who is a drug/alcohol counsellor and family therapist.

The subjects covered are self care techniques, anger management, emotional regulating, communication skills, stress management and dealing with grief and loss.

"We give [the men] all the tools and the avenues of help because so many people don't know that this is available," Peta said.

With over 30 years in the welfare field, Leah believes there are noticeable signs that someone is struggling with their own mental health.

It’s important to listen and show your support when approaching someone about their mental health.
It’s important to listen and show your support when approaching someone about their mental health.

"They may be sleeping in more during the day, experiencing back problems or not being able to cope with small things," Leah said.

Some other signs include a flat tone of voice, withdrawn from everyday activities and a change in diet.

Leah suggests that if someone around you is living with a mental illness, it's important to listen to them and let them know there's help available.

"Sometimes people need a stronger person to take the lead. Tell them to visit a GP because they can refer you to a psychologist and get you on the mental health care plan," Leah said.

She also believes that men need support without judgement.

"A common misconception is that they need to 'man up and get over' it so it's important to check in with the person on a regular basis," Leah said.

Peta and Leah plan on raising more awareness for men's mental health.

They share men's stories on their Instagram page in hopes it will encourage others to open up about their own struggles.

Build a Brotherhood holds free support groups twice a month for men who are living with mental illnesses.