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Community integral for men’s mental health

Collegiality and support systems – in the workplace or elsewhere – is critical for the long-term health and wellbeing of men, argues one advocate.

In a recent conversation on The Wellness Daily Show, Terry Cornick – who founded men’s support network Mr Perfect, which hosts BBQs and other social events for males to seek community – said that eradicating senses of isolation is fundamental in ensuring that people feel supported.

“I get caught up in my own head regularly, thinking that the world's going to end, and when it's a bad day and when I'm going through struggles, to be at one of these barbecues, the feeling I have when I walk away is pretty good. For an introvert – which I think I am – I feel comfortable coming away from it, even if I've not talked about my story, I've just listened to someone, I have a feeling that, ‘Actually, there's other people in struggle, no matter their background, demographic, financial resources, whatever it may be’. That's the feel-good factor for me,” he reflected.

In explaining why community is so integral, Mr Cornick said, “It takes a community to look after issues and to acknowledge and to look after other people within it. I ultimately see it within my family, having a community of people around that are in our lives consistently, that are there when we need them, are there for a multitude of reasons, and my children feel safe and happy with them. I just feel we as a society don't do that particularly well,” he said.

It can also be important, he added, to force men to an extent to engage in a community, whether it be at work or outside of it, in light of the success that many women have found in exploring such modes of communication.

“My wife, exact example, has her WhatsApp groups and coffee meetings, and very quickly with her group of friends, if something is wrong or something is up, they rally around very quickly. With us, we can go, even my closest mates, six weeks, eight weeks. We'll talk and over text we'll try and catch up as we do, but it's normally around a pub or something ... we might have to grab a coffee or something. But it's never enough to really have those deep conversations,” he recounted.

“You never know what's going on. You can never truly know. But to know people are there that you can reach out to when you need to, it's hugely important. We need reminders of it.

“Men have the tendency to reach out when it's hitting the crisis point, but they need to get comfortable within a community before they hit that point.”

To listen to the full conversation with Terry Cornick, click below:

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain