Every year, the month of June recognises Men’s Health, with a dedicated week focusing on a specific topic of importance. This year Men’s Health Week is Monday 10th to Sunday 16th of June and the focus is on Men’s Health Checks - from blood pressure and heart health to diabetes, bowel cancer and more.

In addition to raising awareness about the importance of health checks, Men’s Health Week has also launched the Good Health Heroes campaign developed by Healthy Male and Western Sydney University which encourages men to make small behavioural changes that will incrementally improve their health and wellbeing for the future. The campaign features six key characters representing key areas of change - physical activity, nourishment, rest, social connection, history and habits, and proactivity for treatment.   

One of the most talked about challenges male veterans face is the ongoing care of their mental health, so events like Men’s Health Week are a great opportunity to explore this topic in an open and supportive way. Understanding how to build foundations of good health is essential to facilitate healing and develop resilience for male veterans facing mental health challenges. 

With this in mind, the Australian Men’s Health Forum has developed a free Know Your Man Facts toolkit that provides information and resources across several topics to help men get educated about their health and be proactive about taking care of themselves and other men in their community.   

Tools like these are especially useful for veterans, with many finding it difficult to transition back into civilian life and connect with other men in their community. Male veterans often struggle to process experiences stemming from their time in service - such as exposure to life-threatening situations, involvement in high-pressure operations, and even the transition back to being a civilian. The disciplined nature of the defence forces requires a level of strength and fortitude that leaves little space for emotional expression or communication for many. It may be the case that taking care of mental health and wellness has not been a priority. Reaching out can be difficult and it can be confronting to converse in ways that may be unfamiliar. 

If you or someone you know is a veteran struggling with mental health issues, it’s crucial to develop a good relationship with a GP as a central point for access to mental health professionals, mental health care plans, ongoing support, medications, and treatment plans where required. It’s also crucial to reach out for support to like-minded individuals and organisations if and when needed. Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling is a great support service that provides free, confidential counselling and support to Australian veterans and their families. 

There is also the weekly Coffee and Chat session every Wednesday from 10 to 11am at the Veterans Wellbeing Hub in Morwell that all veterans are welcome to attend. This weekly social gathering provides support and kinship for veterans dealing with the unique challenges of post-civilian life. Veterans can meet with others who understand their history and discuss their issues openly and without judgement. The mental health benefits of these gatherings are immeasurable, especially for those male veterans dealing with conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. 

If you’d like to find out more about the Veteran Wellbeing Hub, or how Carry On can support you or someone you know, please contact us – we are here to help.