Every 60 seconds, somewhere around the world, someone will lose a brother, partner, father or son to suicide. It’s an alarming statistic that is all too real in our communities, and one that emphasises the importance of mental health in today’s society.
In the time it takes to lose someone close to you, it’s those precious seconds that can make all the difference in reaching out to help someone in need; to let someone know that they are important, they are appreciated and that they are loved.
That’s the message that Movember is promoting ahead of MAYEIGHT - a day that is all about highlighting mateship and the importance of men’s mental health through the act of catching up and checking in with a mate. Because we all know how important mateship is; it’s an ideal that we as Australians are instilled with.
Sure, life can get in the way and at times, it’s easy to lose touch with what is most important. Men, in particular, have notoriously struggled to deal with the way they express their feelings; locker room chat doesn't go deeper than the surface level. But through initiatives like MAYEIGHT, it reiterates the need to start the important conversation about mental health.
What is MAYEIGHT? Plain and simple, it’s a day that encourages you to reach out with a friend to tell them that they matter to you. lululemon, together with Movember , wants every guy to check in with a mate on MAYEIGHT, as there is probably one mate that really needs your help right about now. If you sense something is up with a mate, this is the chance for you to reach out to let them know you’re there for them.
We spoke with Matt Runnals, CEO and founder of non-profit mental health organisation Mindfull Aus, and friend of the lululemon brand. Matt is an advocate and a voice for men’s mental health and suicide, and a beacon of hope; encouraging those to come out of the surrounding shadows of stigma via self-acceptance and a greater education of mental health.
Matt was once just like most guys in the room - afraid to speak up and voice his thoughts and feelings. And sadly, it took the loss of close friends to change the way he was living.
“I had to rewire the story in my mind from one of ‘torture’ to one of acknowledging and giving credit to all the good things that had happened to me as a result of the pain, trauma and grief I’d been through,” says Matt Runnalls.
“Mental illness and the loss of mates have been my greatest teachers. It has given me the ability to be in a position to give back; to help change the conversation and the culture of mental health and resilience; to show the young champions of tomorrow the strength of who they are; and to help people right across the world to flex the muscles developed by their emotional struggles.”
Matt has helped countless individuals, families and communities address the issues of mental health through the art of conversation, which is guided by the lessons he lives and swears by each and every day:
● Be content with being confused: it’s where you begin to learn new things.
● Be broken: it’s where you heal stronger.
● Be frustrated: it’s where deliberate actions happen.
● Be sad: because if you are brave enough, you will hear your heart through it.
● Be angry: it will help you work out what to stay away from.
● Be overwhelmed: it’s where you will find out what’s important.
How to be a good mate…
This MAYEIGHT, take it as an opportunity to touch base with your feelings, as difficult as that might seem. Or simply just call on a friend for a chat... because you just don’t know how important that chat might be.
Here are the Movember’s guidelines to being a good mate this MAYEIGHT:
1. Send your mate a text or give them a call.
2. Lock in a time to meet or have a chat. "Mate, let’s catch up soon" ain’t good enough.*
3. Do something. It could be an activity you both enjoy, or something new (why not try Zoom trivia, or give him a hand with that IKEA flatpack?) . Guys often talk more openly when they’re doing stuff together, shoulder-to-shoulder.*
4. If you or your mate want to talk about something difficult, be there and listen.
5. Share what’s happening in your life. Being open makes it easier for your mates to open up.
*keep it above board by checking your local social distancing laws first
Reaching out to a mate who’s struggling can be uncomfortable, but to make it easier, our mates at Movember have just launched Movember Conversations - an online tool to give you the confidence to have those tough chats.
For more info on how to have better conversations with your mates visit movember.com