How can we encourage men to look after their health and be effective help seekers? What can you do?
It's so important to have those conversations, however CFA want to share with you some other ways we can get involved in our own wellbeing, and understand those around us. To read the first article about Men's Health Week we did earlier this week, click here.
Grow your knowledge
Help break down stigma and create an empathetic culture at CFA and enrol in some of our Wellbeing training opportunities, The Working Mind for First Responders is a good place to start with enrolments re-opening soon subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
In this program, you develop your understanding of the Mental Health Continuum and recognising the behaviours in yourself and others that might mean mental health is declining. Learn skills in how to improve your mental health when you recognise changes plus many other skills in having good conversations around mental health. For a list of tip sheets and resources for wellbeing support, head to the Wellbeing page on CFA Members Online.
Get active and normalise mental health issues
We are seeing increased normalisation of help seeking without it being identified as weakness or failing. Increasingly activities like the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb and Walk off the War Within are raising understanding and knowledge around mental health and in many cases these events are a means for men to have a voice in the mental health arena while being physically active at the same time.
Habits and behaviours that support good physical health play a role in supporting good mental health. Some mental health benefits of exercise include reducing anxiety, improving sleep, reducing stress, creating the opportunity for calmer thinking patterns and creating opportunities for social interaction. Having healthy habits in place supports not only physical recovery during times of illness but also improves mental health recovery. A good reason to find something that works for you to keep your body moving! For more tips on improving your health and wellbeing, see the CFA Members Online page here.
Let's see how CFA CEO/CO Steve Warrington keeps his health and wellbeing in check:
Lead by Example
How often can we recognise changes in behaviour and declining mental health in others but not in ourselves? How many of us have suggested others seek help, while assuming we ourselves are not impacted? BeyondBlue identify a discrepancy between positive changes in societal attitude to help seeking versus the individual response. Highlighting the greatest stigma comes from within. It has become increasingly common for men to be supportive of other men but not afford themselves the same level of compassion. Recognising signs and symptoms of a decline in our own mental health and thinking about what has worked for us before and taking action can be key in managing our own individual mental health.
We encourage you to have a go at having these virtual conversations to increase your confidence in having these types of conversations. For more facts and information on understanding these conversations, head to the Men's Health Week website.
There are several events happening around Victoria during June, you can access these here.
If at any time you are worried about your psychological wellbeing or the wellbeing of someone you know, there is always help available through: