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Hindmarsh launches headspace Fathers Campaign

NRL champion Nathan Hindmarsh urges fathers & sons to start the mental health conversation.

Only 13 per cent of young men seek help

NRL champion Nathan Hindmarsh urges fathers & sons to start the mental health conversation.

Young men have the highest rates of mental health issues of any group in Australia, but tens of thousands are staying silent rather than seeking help.

The nation-wide problem has led headspace to embark on a striking national campaign aimed at one of the most influential people for many young men: their fathers.

Adding significant strength to the campaign is NRL great Nathan Hindmarsh who is joining the headspace team in an attempt to breakdown the stigma.

Hindmarsh – a father of four sons – said he is proudly lending his voice to the headspace Fathers campaign.

“I look at my four boys and I want them to know that I will always be available to talk to them – day or night – whatever problem they might be facing,” he said.

As part of the campaign, headspace clinicians have designed a set of tools and tips to help fathers to support their sons through mental health challenges.

Hindmarsh said it was vital that fathers learn the triggers and warning signs for their children, and the easy and practical ways to start a conversation.

“There is really practical, easy ways to do this around this including, asking general questions.”

“Often just talking about it is the hardest, but most important, step to take when dealing with mental health worries,” he said. “Australian dads can make this step even easier by taking the initiative in these conversations.”

headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said a lot of things go unsaid between young men and their dads, especially when it comes to mental health.

“In past generations men were sometimes reluctant to open up about mental health issues but with the services and support available today we should be able to change that,” he said.

“Fathers can play a vital role in identifying the early signs of mental illness and helping their sons get the support they need but many men are unsure how to start the conversation or what services are available.”

“From a practical level, dads need to set the scene and think about where they are going to have a conversation, in the car perhaps, or playing a game of pool – the conversation should be had in a safe and comfortable space.”

“Our headspace figures[i] show that far fewer young men than women seek out professional help. It’s time that we changed this.”

“I encourage all parents, especially Dads, to visit the headspace website for the tools and tips to help them support their sons.”

[i]In 2015/16, across Australia, 60 per cent of young people who sought help at a headspace centre were young women,and only 39 per cent were men (one per cent identified as either gender diverse, intersex or indeterminate).