HELP IS AVAILABLE: James Curtain from Lives Lived Well believes getting involved in the community can help with mental health issues.
HELP IS AVAILABLE: James Curtain from Lives Lived Well believes getting involved in the community can help with mental health issues. Matt Collins

Simple tip to improve men's mental health in South Burnett

STATISTICS show there are a lot of problems facing our men in the South Burnett.

But one mental health facilitator believes there is one major factor that affects the wellbeing of the region's blokes.

Lives Lived Well South West Queensland clinical services manager James Curtain said unemployment had been one of the main problems in the South Burnett for a long time.

"South Burnett and Wide Bay has much higher unemployment than other parts of Australia,” Mr Curtain said.

He had one simple tip for those who may feel disengaged and disillusioned.

Mr Curtain said getting out, meeting people and offering to help out could lead to potential employment opportunities.

"Get involved in the community,” he said.

"For example, I'm aware of a number of school P&Cs trying to get projects off the ground and working on community events.

"They are crying out for people to help them.”

Mr Curtain said volunteering could not only lead to paid employment, but it also helped people build self-confidence and valuable skills.

"Better community connection leads to better health,” he said.

"From where I am sitting I can see a lot of opportunity for the South Burnett.”

His advice comes after the Australian Men's Health Forum released its 2019 Men's Health Report Card this week.

The results for Queensland men were not favourable.

Startling statistics revealed five times more Queensland men aged 45-54 die from heart disease than women of the same age.

And three in four Queenslanders who die by suicide are men.

Regardless of the statistics, Mr Curtain said he was proud to say he was aware of a significant number of South Burnett men working hard to better themselves.

And he believes the region has the services and support available to provide realistic and long-term improvements.

"We are seeing a lot of people desperate to make positive changes,” Mr Curtain said.

"We now have more assistance than ever before with a range of services available.

"We have 24-hour Lifeline and local services which are available face-to-face or over the phone.

"There are a lot of great services in the South Burnett.”

According to Mr Curtain, gone are the days where the stigma of having mental health problems were seen as weak or soft.

"It's not necessarily courageous or manly or strong to look after yourself and not ask for help,” he said.

"Ten years ago, this conversation would've been about dropping the bravado and picking up the phone.

"These days, it's a lot more about what other things can we do.”

If the men in your life are struggling with some of life's challenges, encourage them to get outside and get involved in the community.

Mr Curtain said the first step was simply reaching out to family and friends to see how you could help.

"You don't have to look beyond your family and friends to start with,” he said.

"Your network can spread very quickly.

"Put up your hand and build one relationship at a time.”

South Burnett

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