Opening up about men’s health over a game of cricket

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 2:39 pm

By Mike Atkinson | Drive producer and public relations officer

A game of cricket could be all that it takes for men to open up about depression, according to a new study from a mental health organisation.

Richmond Wellbeing has recognised that suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 18-40 years and they are taking to cricket clubrooms across WA to try and do something about it.

Thinking outside the box, they have started catching up with blokes in the cricket clubrooms after a game to tackle mental health issues head on.

2 men playing cricket

Richmond Wellbeing Executive Manager of Operations, Adrian Munro, and Director of Richmond Wellbeing Learning Exchange, Ian Thompson, are the ones at the coalface.

Adrian comments, “When it comes to males there tends to be a strong stigma associated with any mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. We aren’t doing enough about it until it’s too late.

“Women tend naturally to chat to each other and, quite often, by just sharing your thoughts problems can be solved. Men are less inclined to talk, so our approach is prevention before cure.”

The clubroom chats are informal and take about half an hour – offering advice on what depression and anxiety feel like or how you might recognise a mate who is struggling and in need of some help. And very importantly, they teach men how to listen.

Ian adds, “The most typical response from one bloke to another is to say oh you will be right mate, but it’s time for us all to step up, we need to start listening and try and connect them to someone who can help.”

The presentation includes information on what a GP and mental health providers like Headspace, Lifeline and Beyond Blue can do for you, and left behind on the notice board are numbers to contact if you or someone you know needs help.

Richmond Wellbeing has so far conducted talks in Morley, Victoria Park, Kalamunda and Ocean Beach.

Adrian says, “Although in its early stages we seem to have full support from the WA Cricket community, next step is to get into the footy clubrooms, soccer rooms and so on.

“Sporting Clubs are brilliant at supporting people and it’s become very obvious that within this environment we have a listening ear.”