At Regional Men’s Health we are always promoting social wellbeing and connectedness through appropriate communication and social networks because we are all social creatures at heart. However, in some ways social media is taking over as the predominant form of social connection, especially with younger blokes. This isn’t totally a bad thing, there’s a lot to be said for being able to open a group chat with your mates and stay engaged with your friends even if your working or studying a long way from home. Social media is a form of social activity and can be very helpful, especially in maintaining friendships and as a convenient way to organize real world activities. So social media isn’t this other world as it sometimes gets characterized but can be a simple extension of already existing social groups and dynamics.
As blokes we are all guilty of just wanting to get the job done and sometimes throw our bodies on the line without ever considering possible consequences. We see this with both young and old blokes alike, and injuring our back is one possible consequence. In fact, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare suggest that 70% – 90% of the population will experience lower back pain in some form during their life.
Progression Planning is about retaining family relationships in the progression/succession process by looking at the people issues before dealing with the financial and business aspects. It is often the unspoken expectations of family members that can lead to the difficulties experienced. If farming families looked at the relationship aspects and people issues of their business as part of the progression plan there would be less stress and misunderstanding.
Last week my 8 year old son participated in his first school swimming carnival, and ended up winning his first ever medal for “champion boy” in his age. Unfortunately I was away on a work trip, and of course when I spoke to the family that evening my son was the first on the end of the phone to tell me proudly of his achievement (he doubted himself and never expected to win). This recognition for effort has been amazing for his confidence and I have even noticed a positive change in his motivation towards other extra-curricular activities that had previously challenged his confidence
I was speaking with a bloke not long ago, “Joe”, who was feeling really frustrated trying to help a mate who was more or less avoiding his attempts at support and refusing to seek help, even though he was obviously in some emotional distress. As is often the case Joe felt powerless in this situation and asked how he might better approach things.
Things that we cannot control are our biggest distressors, in agriculture it is mostly weather issues followed by a multitude of other factors such as commodity prices, machinery breakdowns (how long is a bit of string!)
This year every area of the Wheatbelt (from Northampton to Southern Cross to Esperance and in between) has had different rain events and the crops and pastures are at different stages of germination and growth. We must remind ourselves that it is winter and we are in July. These challenging starts to the season affect the whole community (farmers, people involved in agribusiness and those in the agri-link industries like the mechanics, the mitre 10 store). Everybody feels the pain.
The time has come to re-evaluate the way we approach suicide awareness and prevention! This is the challenge issued in a recent paper delivered by the Australian Institute of Male Health Studies and Western Sydney University. Renowned advocates for Men’s Health Dr John Ashfield, Professor John Macdonald and Anthony Smith propose that a significant paradigm shift is needed in order to realise a more effective national suicide prevention strategy. They argue that a ‘situational approach’ is required, one that acknowledges the more predominant association of situational distress with suicide, as opposed to the current focus on mental illness. This is precisely what we advocate at RMHI.