Even though more and more people are opening up about their mental health, a lot of men still feel uncomfortable taking part in the discussion. Unfortunately, there is still a widespread stigma centered around men discussing their emotions and other sensitive topics. These are just a couple of reasons why Terry decided to create Mr.Perfect, a mental health project specifically for men. Read on to learn more about what he hopes to accomplish.
Tell us a little bit about your project.
Mr. Perfect is a grassroots support network that aims to be the first destination for every man’s mental health. We have recently become an Incorporated Association and will soon have official Charity status. We hope that our open and inclusive approach to mental health in men will get men talking more at the very least, or if needed, the first steps to [getting] professional help.
Can you elaborate a little on what you mean by an inclusive approach? What does that entail?
This is probably best explained by giving an example. I attended an event some time ago that promoted men’s health and mental health, but the demographic that were invited were white, Anglo-Aussie, from the Eastern Suburbs, and athletes or similar. Although it was a good event, it was far from inclusive. We would not turn anyone away to our Meetups or treat any person that wanted to be involved any differently from our closest friends.
Where does the name “Mr.Perfect” come from?
Mr. Perfect is contradictory. It is a sarcastic nod to the male approach to mental health. It was a nickname my best mate gave me. It is a metaphor for what the world expects us to be. It is the mask we wear. Mental illness is killing men. We do not talk enough. We do not support each other enough. We do not get help early enough.
Were you inspired to create this project after you were given that nickname?
The nickname came around 5 years ago. The idea was certainly in my head, but I was still very shy and introverted and had little confidence. As usual, the negative [part] of my mind told me there was no way I could do that. Then when I was sitting in the pub with two close mates we casually talked about mental health, and I knew then I needed to do it.
How can people get involved with your project?
We have a big Trivia Night coming up to help kick-start some fundraising so we can provide great “Meetups” for more men. People can get involved by checking out our website for Meetup details, read our regular mental health blogs & sign up for our newsletter.
What should people expect to experience at the meetups and trivia nights?
Some great conversation and a chance to meet truly good people that are inclusive, non-judgmental and realize we need to also have fun and not take ourselves too seriously at times either. If someone comes along and chats for 5 minutes and leaves, no problem. If they come and talk to everyone and enjoy it and make a few new contacts/friends, great. It is not an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where every one must confess their sins while others listen in silence. We hope to provide some informal chats/presentations/etc. as well from mental health professionals and inspirational stories too.
If you could offer one main piece of advice or wisdom to the men out there who are struggling, what would it be?
You are so far from alone. I am at times the biggest hypocrite for saying it but do not be so hard on yourself and when the cloudy times are on the horizon, start to consciously recognize those feelings, symptoms, reactions and develop some strategies to deal with it. That includes professional help as early as possible. You can cope and thrive with a mental health illness or mental health problem.
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