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You don’t have to be a Male to Movember

You don’t have to be a Male to Movember

Written by Lauren Mason

Male mental health is in crisis and we all know it. Carolyn Ngan, Oqea Project Consultant and long-time mental health advocate is one who knows this crisis all too well, and for some time now. Carolyn trained as an Occupational Therapist in New Zealand and worked specifically with clients with mental health illness for many years. Since then, having worked in human service agencies as a clinician and held management roles in policy and planning in mental health, Carolyn has continued to experience first-hand the impact of ill mental health on males and the stigma attached.

As a longtime advocate for mental health with a rich history working within the mental health and general health space, when the Oqea team was asked to participate in Movember Carolyn was the first to sign up.

Carolyn said: “Male mental health is a cause close to my heart. My husband had severe depression for many years’ and it was a struggle for him.  Many of my male friends also suffered from depression at some stage in their lives. Movember is a way of raising awareness and improving access to mental health services for men, which I believe to be very important to improving outcomes. “

Movember is traditionally a male involved charitable cause run throughout the month of November, where males grow a ‘mo’ to encourage more discussion around male mental health. In more recent years the charity has expanded its fundraising activities to encompass a fitness challenge where male AND female participants sign up to walk 60 km for the 60 men lost each hour in the world. This year Carolyn and her colleagues at Oqea decided to either grow a ‘mo’ or walk up to 60km to raise awareness and funds for male mental health.

As the youngest of nine siblings with four brothers of her own, Carolyn also has several male friends and family that she has lent an ear to in the past regarding their silent struggles.

Carolyn said: “I talk to my male friends a lot about mental health issues. Usually over a coffee or drinks.  It is a hard subject as quite often they don’t tend to talk about it – but I persevere or at least give them options.”

Thankfully, options for male mental health centric services are fast expanding, becoming a key item on the agenda for large companies, not-for-profit organisations and more recently the Government. Suicide is our leading cause of death between the ages of 15 and 44. Every year of the 65,000 people who attempt to take their own lives in Australia 75% are male. And people are starting to take notice.

The latest Productivity Commission report highlights the importance of digital connectivity and recommending all people, including males, have better access to mental health and wellbeing support from a variety of different mediums.

 Carolyn said: “It is important that friends and family know about mental health and physical health issues so that they can support their loved ones fully and get support as carers. Technology and digital health is a way of achieving this no matter what circumstances you are in or what location“.

When asked for her top tips for how to talk to a male mate or family member she listed the following:

·       Be supportive. Just asking the question “Are you ok“ can make such a difference.

·       Be open to talking to your male friends about how you are feeling personally. If you share your struggles they will be more likely to share their own. They say a problem shared is a problem solved.

·       Put things in to perspective and let them know they are not alone. We all go through tough times and need support.

·       My recommendation for resources is the Act, Belong, Commit campaign- check out the website here.

 And there are always many different ways of caring for yourself. When asked how she manages her own mental health Carolyn mentioned her love of music.

 “I love listening to music. I find it really relaxing to wind down after a long day with my favourite songs. Other than this I also enjoy cycling, golf and reading a good book!’.

 To learn more about the Oqea team and donate to their Movember fundraising efforts visit https://au.movember.com/team/2394146

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You don’t have to be a Male to Movember

Male mental health is in crisis and we all know it. Carolyn Ngan, Oqea Project Consultant and long-time mental health advocate is one who knows this crisis all too well, and for some time now. Carolyn trained as an Occupational Therapist in New Zealand and worked specifically with clients with mental health illness for many years. Since then, having worked in human service agencies as a clinician and held management roles in policy and planning in mental health, Carolyn has continued to experience first-hand the impact of ill mental health on males and the stigma attached.

As a longtime advocate for mental health with a rich history working within the mental health and general health space, when the Oqea team was asked to participate in Movember Carolyn was the first to sign up.

Carolyn said: “Male mental health is a cause close to my heart. My husband had severe depression for many years’ and it was a struggle for him.  Many of my male friends also suffered from depression at some stage in their lives. Movember is a way of raising awareness and improving access to mental health services for men, which I believe to be very important to improving outcomes. “

Movember is traditionally a male involved charitable cause run throughout the month of November, where males grow a ‘mo’ to encourage more discussion around male mental health. In more recent years the charity has expanded its fundraising activities to encompass a fitness challenge where male AND female participants sign up to walk 60 km for the 60 men lost each hour in the world. This year Carolyn and her colleagues at Oqea decided to either grow a ‘mo’ or walk up to 60km to raise awareness and funds for male mental health.

As the youngest of nine siblings with four brothers of her own, Carolyn also has several male friends and family that she has lent an ear to in the past regarding their silent struggles.

Carolyn said: “I talk to my male friends a lot about mental health issues. Usually over a coffee or drinks.  It is a hard subject as quite often they don’t tend to talk about it – but I persevere or at least give them options.”

Thankfully, options for male mental health centric services are fast expanding, becoming a key item on the agenda for large companies, not-for-profit organisations and more recently the Government. Suicide is our leading cause of death between the ages of 15 and 44. Every year of the 65,000 people who attempt to take their own lives in Australia 75% are male. And people are starting to take notice.

The latest Productivity Commission report highlights the importance of digital connectivity and recommending all people, including males, have better access to mental health and wellbeing support from a variety of different mediums.

 Carolyn said: “It is important that friends and family know about mental health and physical health issues so that they can support their loved ones fully and get support as carers. Technology and digital health is a way of achieving this no matter what circumstances you are in or what location“.

When asked for her top tips for how to talk to a male mate or family member she listed the following:

·       Be supportive. Just asking the question “Are you ok“ can make such a difference.

·       Be open to talking to your male friends about how you are feeling personally. If you share your struggles they will be more likely to share their own. They say a problem shared is a problem solved.

·       Put things in to perspective and let them know they are not alone. We all go through tough times and need support.

·       My recommendation for resources is the Act, Belong, Commit campaign- check out the website here.

 And there are always many different ways of caring for yourself. When asked how she manages her own mental health Carolyn mentioned her love of music.

 “I love listening to music. I find it really relaxing to wind down after a long day with my favourite songs. Other than this I also enjoy cycling, golf and reading a good book!’.

 To learn more about the Oqea team and donate to their Movember fundraising efforts visit https://au.movember.com/team/2394146