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Men's Mental Health Week

Posted by Luke McMeeken-Ruscoe on

Hey Team,

It is hard to be a man. This is not to say it is easy being any other gender that you identify as. It just has different challenges.

I have had suicidal thoughts. My dream was to make the NBA. In pursuit of this dream, I got a scholarship to a prestigious school in the US. During my last year at school, I was talking with NBA agents and getting ready to go to the NBA camps when I had a career-ending injury. 

While all my friends went off to Wall Street I had multiple years of surgeries before ending up living at home with my mother. I went from being on the side of buses, living the American dream, surrounded by friends, doing the thing I loved, to being an unemployable cripple in the middle of a cold Christchurch winter. 

Some days success was getting out of bed, others days it was getting out the front door. It was a very dark dark time for me. 

We are meant to be strong, and silent. Tough and fearless. Confident but humble. We are meant to be the breadwinner, the shoulder to cry on, steady and reliable. 

The truth is, we are just people. We are as flawed and fallible as anyone else. Because we have more testosterone flowing through our system doesn't make us immune to doubt, fear, worry, sadness. 

We feel the pressure to be a "man" in the modern environment without really having the skills to deal with what that means emotionally. This, sadly, is more of a Kiwi trait as both men and women suffer from depression at a high rate, however, men are twice as likely to make a serious suicide attempt.

14.3% of Kiwis have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives and 6.1% have some form of anxiety disorder. The rates are higher for women than for men but the men seem to not be able to cope as well with it. 

Suicide rates are much worse for Maori than they are for any other group of people, both in Maori Male to non-Maori Male and Maori Female to non-Maori Female. 

People living in the most deprived areas have poorer health in general, this includes power mental health and higher rates of suicide. 

 Please reach out to someone you can trust if you need support. People want to talk to you while you are here more than they want to talk about you at your funeral. I know it's hard to be vulnerable but its a sign of strength and masculinity.

There are many different resources out there that you can use. 

 https://depression.org.nz/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/

www.health.govt.nz

Be brave, speak up, give someone you love a hug.

Cheers,

Luke

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