Mens Health Week

Men’s health week 2020 (15th- 21St June) is designed to raise awareness of the preventable health challenges that men face today. Men’s Health Week is also an opportunity to create discussion about the aspects that positively contribute to improving men’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Social Connection

This year we want to highlight social connection as a particularly important feature of men’s wellbeing.  We are currently living in unusual and challenging circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The precautions we need to make to stay healthy are creating distance with those most important to us.

We know that men often get a lot of mutual support while participating in activities with their mates (e.g., sport, on-campus university life, gym, the pub etc). These activities become the forum to check in with each other. With this pandemic we are seeing a reduction in the regular activities for guys to connect and support one another. This can leave many men feeling isolated, a sense of loneliness and disconnection. This comes at a time of study and exam stress as well as all the usual stressors of everyday life!

Importance of Social Connection

Social connection is particularly important for both physical health and mental wellbeing. Research has even found that increasing our social connections makes us 50% more likely to live a longer life (Holt-Lunstad, Robles & Sbarra, 2017) and a happier one too. It is more important than ever for men to be looking out for the wellbeing of their mates and in turn looking after themselves too.

Reach Out

So why not take up the challenge to reach out, check in and connect? Call a friend. Check in on a mate that perhaps isn’t traveling so well at the moment. Organise a group catch up.  Making contact out of the blue can sometimes feel hard to do but it is well worth it.

REBOOT: The New Normal

Check out what Movember has to say about attending to our social world in the time of COVID and making the shift toward greater connection.

Tips for Connecting and Reconnecting

  • Make a list of friends you want to catch up with in the week via Zoom. Check in and see how they are traveling.
  • Now that restrictions are relaxing. Make a time to go jogging with a mate or two. Exercise and social contact are two of the best things you can do to lift your mood and impact stress.
  • Campus may not be open just yet but why not create an online study group?
  • Check out Movember’s guide to staying connected, including “Reach out with ALEC” a four step guide to talking with a mate who might be doing it tough at the moment.
  • Movember’s Conversation Tool can help further with those conversations.

Support for the Men of La Trobe

La Trobe University’s Men’s Wellbeing Service is designed to provide dedicated support, information and opportunities for connection for the men of Latrobe. Services include counselling tailored specifically for men, workshops and groups throughout the semester, and ongoing men’s health and wellbeing information.  Check it out for further information, to organise a counselling session or to share ideas on creating connection.

Health and Wellbeing Services and Resources

Internal Resources
  • The Men’s wellbeing counsellor is available via phone or Zoom. Counselling is confidential, informal, and aimed at helping empower you to get where you want to be. Make an appointment.
  • General counselling is also available through our counselling service. Make an appointment with La Trobe’s Counselling Team via telephone or video (Zoom).
  • Not sure what sort of support you need? Fill in this form to request a callback from our Wellbeing team.
  • Use our La Trobe University Crisis Line for Out-of-Hours Mental Health and Wellbeing Support. Phone 1300 146 307 or text 0488 884 100. This service operates 5pm-9am on weekdays and 24 hours during weekends and public holidays.

Need further support?

External Resources
  • Lifeline – For anyone experiencing a personal crisis, 24 hours a day 13 11 14.
  • MensLine Australia – confidential telephone crisis counselling, referral and support service especially for men 1300 78 99 78
  • Beyond Blue – The government has created a new Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service which offers further Wellbeing services and resources
  • Headspace – Check out their COVID-19 resource on coping with stress related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Switchboard - for LGBTIQA+ specific support and referral
  • Men’s health Week: https://www.menshealthweek.org.au
References

Holt-Lunstad, J., Robles, T. F., & Sbarra, D. A. (2017). Advancing social connection as a public health priority in the United States. American Psychologist, 72(6), 517–530.