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Looking out for your mates

We know that men get a lot of support and connection by just hanging out and knowing what’s going on with their mates.

Yet, blokes aren’t always too good at starting the conversation to check in if they’re worried about a friend.  

Many men are wired to keep their feelings to themselves, to just ‘get on with it’, ‘she’ll be right’.

Men are told directly and indirectly, time after time, that talking about how they’re feeling is somehow weak or un-manly. This kind of thinking can be really harmful, not just for men themselves, but for the people around them, too.

Showing our mates that we’re here for them might mean sucking it up and starting the tough conversation, especially if we’re worried about them. It could be the moment you prevent your mate from taking his life, and that’s worth the temporary weirdness you might feel when starting the conversation with them.

Having the conversation

Ever wanted to reach out to your friends but didn’t know how? Or, wished the phone would ring so you didn’t have to take the first step? Chances are, you might have a mate who’s feeling the same way right now.

Just checking in and being there for your mates can make all the difference in terms of support when someone you know is struggling, and can make all the difference in terms of recovery from symptoms of a mental illness.

A simple conversation can help make someone feel less alone, more connected and more supported.

Sometimes all it takes to break down the barriers is for you to start the conversation with your mate and ask if they’re doing OK.

Get some tips on starting the conversation with your mate

Chat laps

A Chat Lap is going for a drive with a mate, and having a chat. It’s as simple as that.

Blokes often prefer to talk side-by-side, rather than face-to-face, which makes a car trip the perfect time for an open and honest conversation, without it being weird.

A conversation can make the difference in helping someone feel less alone and more supported, no matter where you have it. As a mate, don’t underestimate the power of just ‘being there’.

Read more about Chat Laps

Getting support for your mate

If you’re worried about your mate and think he might need a bit of extra support, and not sure where to turn, a great starting point is Beyond Blue’s Support Service.

If your mate would prefer not to talk to someone over the phone, he can have a yarn anonymously via a webchat with a counsellor who can point him in the right direction.

If things are really bad

If you think things with your mate are really bad, seek help, quick-smart.

Call his doctor, a mental health crisis service, or emergency services (000). For further advice you can call Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467).

Having a potentially awkward phone call pales in comparison to losing a mate to suicide.

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