'Mate' is a term used to express so many things between Aussie guys. It can mean anything from 'Hello' to 'I've forgotten your name' or 'I'm sorry to hear that'.
So we're proud to be working with the blokes at the Movember Foundation to turn May 8 into a celebration of men catching up and being better mates.
The aim is to help blokes get better at making social connections, which are an important factor when it comes to maintaining good mental health and wellbeing, and combating depression. Nearly a quarter of men in their middle years are at risk from social isolation. And another 50% only have medium levels of social support.
Globally, the rate of suicide is alarmingly high, particularly in men. And particularly in Australia. Too many are toughing it out and struggling alone.
When guys catch up with each other, they get a better feeling of support and belonging to which they can reach out and lean on when they go through hard times.
Today's the day you should get in touch with a long-lost friend or just drop a note to see how your mates are going.
So, what can you do if that sounds a bit awkward.
1. Send your mate an SMS or give them a call.
2. Keep it simple. Ask them the simple question "How's it going mate?"
3. Really listen to the answer, make sure they know they've got your attention and respond to whatever they have to say. If they're going through a rough time, you don't need to come up with a solution for them. It's enough to say "I'm sorry to hear that mate. That really sucks." Hearing that when you're in a bad place shows your mate that they matter and they are cared about.
4. Arrange to meet up. Either to talk more or grab a beer or watch the footy or whatever. Guys tend to talk more when they are doing stuff together, shoulder-to-shoulder. No matter how much you feel you're supposed to spend your days with your wife and kids or family, your friends are just as important to your mental wellbeing. Your partner will understand and support you meeting some mates once in a while.
5. Share what's going on in your life. You'll feel unbelievably better yourself talking about real stuff and it opens the door for your mate to do the same.
6. Arrange a time and day to connect again, whether a call or a meet up. And keep those plans. Even if it's a month or more away.
We at Triple M are proud to support The Movember Foundation's work towards a world where men and boys take action to be mentally healthy and well, and are supported by their friends, family and community during tough times.