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National Psychology Week

Grill Team
Triple M’s, The Grill Team, and Steven McDavitt promote men’s mental Health for National Psychology Week.
Advantage Psychology, a Western Sydney psychology practice, is launching a new campaign to raise awareness of men’s mental health during National Psychology Week (NPW) 2012. The campaign slogan “It takes balls to ask for help!” challenges pervasive attitudes suggesting that seeking help is a sign of weakness in men. NPW 2012 runs from 11-17 November and aims to increase public awareness about psychology, psychological issues and the role psychologists play in community wellbeing.

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About Men’s Mental Health

Some estimates suggest that up to 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives and 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness in any 12-month period.[1] Men and women experience similar rates of mental illness; however, men are far less likely than women to seek help from a GP or psychologist. Psychologist Steven McDavitt reports, “Men and women experience similar levels of mental health problems, yet at Advantage Psychology only about 30% of our adult clients are men. This is especially concerning given that Australian men are almost 5 times more likely than women to end their lives by suicide. We know there are many more men in Western Sydney in need of help than actually getting it, and this campaign is about increasing men’s access to help when they need it.”

There are many factors contributing to the differing help-seeking behaviours in men and women. Seeking help can often be seen as contradictory to stereotypical ‘male roles’ such as being the leader, or the protector, or the ‘rock’. By acknowledging and seeking help for a mental health problem, some men may feel embarrassed or as though they are not living up to their expectations as a man. Another issue may be that traditional mental health services may not be ‘male-friendly’ enough, reducing the likelihood that men will engage with them.

To this end, Advantage Psychology has a number of individual and group therapy options to increase men’s mental wellbeing. The Just Do It! group for men, is a men only group program that uses evidence-based techniques to help stressed men get more  out of their lives by increasing motivation, activation, and helping to lift persistent low mood. Advantage Psychology has also delivered a number of free community seminars on dealing with anger, coping with bullying, building better relationships, and parenting.

Men experiencing mental health problems are not alone. Advantage Psychology is utilising NPW to encourage men experiencing difficulties to speak with their GP about the benefits of talking to a psychologist. In a recent survey conducted by Advantage Psychology, 40% of male clients said it took them more than 6 months between recognising they were having problems and actually seeking help. Yet 100% of these men said they would recommend other men to talk to a psychologist. The truth is: the first step towards asking for help is the often hardest. It takes balls to ask for help. If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, don’t hesitate to visit your local GP or call Advantage Psychology on 9623 0270 to find out how we can help.

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing of Australians: Summary of Results. Canberra: ABS.
Last Updated: 2 Dec, 2012

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