Mental health for men: early help important

SMILES: Matthew Kaess and Andrew Howard at the mental health talks at Ballarat Library. Picture: Kate Healy

SMILES: Matthew Kaess and Andrew Howard at the mental health talks at Ballarat Library. Picture: Kate Healy

Ballarat residents turned out in force to hear from prominent advocates speak about the need for men to maintain their physical and mental health.

In a packed session at the Ballarat Library, the Ballarat Health Services event welcomed Olympian Steve Moneghetti and well-being advocate Peter Blenkiron as guest speakers.

Moneghetti said the evening was a discussion as much as it was a learning experience. “It is about diagnosis first, then treatment,” he said, “You can’t go to that happy place if you don’t know what it is.”

Moneghetti, a long term marathon runner with a celebrated Olympic career, was one of the first to take a physiotherapist with him on race engagements and this set the model for keeping his health in check during competition and in later life.

“I have to know how my body functions very well,” he said. “Mentally, if am busy I go out for a run in the forest by myself – that’s gold for me.”

Fellow speaker Peter Blenkiron is a child sex abuse survivor who shared his story about dealing with mental health trauma and how to stop it spiralling out of control.  He said the difficulty in asking for help early is part of the problem.

“You don’t know what you don’t know and the emotional world is a foreign world to all of us,” he said.

“We are told to toughen, which is fine for a splinter, but not for mental health.”

Mr Blenkiron said talking about mental health was becoming easier as more high profile people speak openly about their struggles.