Men share their stories to spark discussion around mental health
This week is Men’s Health Week (15-21 June) and the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) would like to acknowledge three rural men who courageously shared their stories about their own journey and struggles with mental health in order to help others.
Warren Davies – Kyabram, Victoria
Warren Davies from Kyabram, Victoria was previously a dairy farmer and is now a facilitator of ‘The Unbreakable Farmer’. Warren faced many challenges including floods, family disputes, and the ongoing drought all of which significantly impacted on his mental health.
“When I talk about my mental health journey, it started around the time of the floods as it was the first challenge that mother nature threw at us but then the drought hit and I started to withdraw and didn’t want to speak to people about how I was feeling and the impact it was having on me”
Warren said he felt like he was letting his family down, his cows down, everyone down, and he felt like a failure.
After seeking professional help Warren said the biggest thing was acknowledging what was going on and understanding that there was nothing wrong with the way that you feel, especially as a farmer and as a bloke, and that it’s okay to have emotions.
Some of Warren’s strategies for coping include re-engaging with his community, being an active member of the community, music, chilling out, doing some fencing and seeing a psychologist.
Andrew House – Broken Hill, New South Wales
Andrew House from Broken Hill, New South Wales is currently working as an Alcohol and Other Drug clinician with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. After battling a chronic drug addiction, experiencing homelessness and facing a jail sentence, Andrew shares his incredible story and what he now does to remain mentally well.
“The best thing I have is to be grateful every day. Gratitude is my thing. I am always grateful for what I have in my life”, Andrew said.
Kaiden Powell – Orange, New South Wales
Kaiden Powell is a Wiradjuri man from Orange, New South Wales who openly shares his struggles with mental illness and his journey towards recovery. What helped Kaiden was having compassionate people around him who supported him as well as finding a connection with something positive.
“I needed to start finding things that I enjoy and one of the things was soccer – it was a big moment in my life to say if I focus my energy on doing something positive- well then anything is possible.
“For me things like meditation is key and it has allowed me to connect with my inner Kaiden. The beauty about getting to know yourself truly at your core is that you also get to know what you need.
“By sharing my story, I hope that I encourage others to get help when they need to and learn some strategies on what they can do now to keep themselves strong,” Kaiden said.
Take action this Men’s Health Week
You can also find Warren, Kaiden and Andrew’s stories on RAMHP’s new website – ‘You Got This Mate’ which provides action-focused tips and information to help rural men reach their best possible mental health. ‘You Got This Mate’ provides useful tips on how and why to take action, and connects men to the best possible care in their local area. It also includes a self-help quiz which helps people track how they’re feeling and provides simple steps to take if someone needs additional advice or support.
If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one, please contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 (free call for landlines) for advice or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.