Psychologist Chris McIntyre has tips for men battling depression or anxiety.
Psychologist Chris McIntyre has tips for men battling depression or anxiety. Contributed

Emotional regulation a focus for Men's Health Week

THIS is Men's Health Week and Mates4Mates psychologist Chris McIntyre is encouraging his fellow Australian men to take action to protect themselves from depression and anxiety.

Chris said it was estimated that one in five Australian men would experience depression and one in eight would experience anxiety.

"Mental illness is a risk factor for suicide and with men making up 75 per cent of all suicide deaths, it's imperative we reduce the stigma around mental illness to encourage men to talk about it openly,” he said.

"This Men's Health Week (June 10-16), at Mates4Mates we are encouraging men to share their experiences and put simple strategies in place to help manage their mental wellbeing.”

Chris said all men could take three simple steps to help regulate their emotions when feelings of distress, including anxiety or anger, arise:

One: Practice mindfulness. Daily mindfulness helps us become more aware of our thought patterns and emotions and how to observe and act non-judgementally to them. Download an app, like Smiling Mind, to guide you through.

Two: Remember to STOPP. This stands for Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Pull back for perspective and Practice what works. This helps us effectively address and manage emotional responses that are challenging, difficult or that cause anger.

Three: Use sensory skills. You can manage emotional states using sight, sound, taste or touch. For example, if you become distressed, eating something sour can bring you back into the present, or using a weighted blanket helps you focus on touch, or even doing a push-up or intense exercise.

"Use Men's Health Week as a time to think about your own mental health and reach out if you need support. For crisis support, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14,” Chris said.

Mates4Mates specialises in providing rehabilitation and support services for current and ex-serving Australia Defence Force men and women with injuries, including mental health issues, and their families.

For more information, phone Mates4Mates on 1300 4 MATES.

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