There is something affecting men. It’s like kryptonite to Superman. It makes the toughest men weak. You can’t identify it like a broken bone. You can’t remove it like a tumour. It is probably the greatest health issue facing men. This weakness is to do with men’s inability to speak.

Depression affects 1 in 8 men and 1 in 6 women. However 8 people die by suicide everyday; of these 6 of them are men. Mental illness isn’t killing men but our inability to talk about it and deal with it is.

Men are less likely to experience depression but are 5 x more likely to commit suicide!

Although depression isn’t always the cause for suicide the two are pretty closely linked. But people don’t choose to be depressed. It’s not just a case of perking up, looking at the bright side. Depression is a disease; it is a chemical imbalance in the brain. People can’t wish it to go away anymore than they can wish a heart attack not to happen.

Depression deregulates thought processes including language, memory, quantitative reasoning, fluid intelligence and spatial perception. Often people who are depressed they feel there is no way out of the depression, which often leads to suicide.

So What Can You Do?

1. Are you ok?

Be aware of changes in the personality of mates and simply ask are you ok? We need to talk and have open communication. Be there for your mate. People with depression are not alone but constantly feel lonely, they feel no one will understand them and judge them if they speak up. You need to provide them with the opportunity to speak up and that it is ok to talk.

2. The hardest part is to start

Remember it’s not weak to speak. The hardest part is starting the conversation. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with a friend or relative, seek professional help from a psychologist or GP. A neutral third party is a great place to start. Just expressing how you feel will take you a long way towards recovery.

3. Alcohol and violence are not the solution

The link between the body and brain are undeniable. If you take care of your body, your brain will follow. Exercise is medicine. Post mortem studies on individuals who commit suicide have significantly decreased levels of BDNF. BDNF is the hormone that gets released during exercise and is responsible for building new brain cells. Move everyday. Even though some days it’s hard enough to get out of bed, the more you move the better you feel. You can decrease your symptoms by more than 50% with exercise alone. Research tends to suggest the higher the intensity the better.

This is perhaps one of the biggest issues facing blokes and we need to change. We must put our pride and ego to the side. Talk about how we are really feeling and take care of our bodies. As much as we think we are invincible and can handle it, reality is we aren’t.

Ready to implement a wellbeing program with tangible benefits for everyone involved?