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The facts about men’s mental health: No.5 You Gotta Have Friends

A lot has been written about the importance of social connection in feeling good. Humans are social beings and most gravitate towards the company of others, it is one of the greatest determinants of mental health.

Accumulating masses of friends across social networks might help build some sense of connection, but nothing beats in-person contact with mates, relatives or people you develop a rapport with from work.

Men who lack close friends are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts as men who do not have close mates. In a 2014 study on men’s social connectedness, Beyond Blue said people with higher levels of social connectedness were less likely to develop depression and, if they did develop depression, they were less likely to experience persistent and recurrent episodes.

Yet they also found that it was common for men to go through a lonely period and to lose touch with friends as they got older, particularly between the ages of 35 and 54.

As we draw closer to International Men’s Day on Friday, November 19, the fifth fact in our Know Your Man Facts series on Men’s Mental Health calls out the importance of mateship.

One call a day is all it takes, but if the address book looks sparse, consider joining a club or group, volunteering or checking out what’s on offer from community centres.

There are a growing number around of male-friendly activities driven by the men’s grassroots mental health movement.

For example, Mr Perfect brings men together at BBQs in local parks across Australia. These events are becoming more widespread as more men join a Mr Perfect meet-up or start their own. Find out more.

The aptly named Grab Life by the Balls creates events for blokes from all walks of life to connect, hang out and be themselves. These include burger nights and breakfast chin wags across Queensland, Victoria and NSW. Events (online and offline) are regularly posted @grablifebytheballsmovement on Facebook.

The Man Walk provides an opportunity for men to get together to walk, talk and support each other in a regular and healthy way and there are a growing number of groups being set up across Australia.

Find A Man Walk

Men’s Sheds are geared more towards older men, who typically meet at a community space – or shed – to fix things, make things, share activities they are passionate about and hang out.  The movement started in Australia and there are now 1000 Shedders across the country … more than McDonald’s outlets. Find a shed.

Know Your Man Facts

The Australian Men’s Health Forum developed the Know Your Man Facts campaign on Men’s Mental Health to bring more awareness to key issues about men’s mental health.

In a tailor-made presentation for International Men’s Day 2021, KYMF looks at some of the actions you can take to stay mentally healthy, how you can help others and maybe even save someone’s life.

Also in this series:

Read: The facts about men's mental health: No.1 - 75% of suicides are male (Australian Men's Health Forum)

Read: The facts about men’s mental health: No.2: Out of Order

Read: The facts about men’s mental health: No.3 Men at Work

Read: The facts about men’s mental health: No.4 Home Alone

If you would like to learn more about this topic and give a Know Your Man Facts presentation on men’s mental health, please email your request to [email protected]

You can access all other resources to share across your networks here.


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