This emotional restriction dictates to boys - who grow up to be men – that it’s somehow uncool to speak from their heart and talk about their feelings. This has long-term consequences for their personal lives and their relationships. And it’s just not healthy!
Sadly, eight Australian’s take their lives every day as a result of depression and other mental health illnesses and over 75% of these are male. This is staggering, and a statistic that needs addressing.
What is breaking news is that Triple M’s Grill Team Gus Worland and AVAAL Group Founders Mike Charter and Gareth Pike, have joined forces to create a Charitable Foundation with the purpose of supporting men’s mental health.
I caught up with Gus, Gareth & Mike – the Directors of the charity to learn more:
Gus, Mike & Gareth - Gotcha4Life Founders
So guys, what was the catalyst to form your Gotcha4Life Project?
Gus: I lost a good mate who just couldn’t cope anymore. I was absolutely devastated. I had no idea he was battling! This led me to look deeper into the suicide crisis facing our nation. I went on to film the ABC TV documentary ‘Man Up’, which looked at stereotypes surrounding masculinity. The goal was to reduce the alarming number of men who are choosing to take their own lives. For me, the whole process was a massive eye-opener. I received over 10,000 letters from people moved by the programme and I was compelled to not only raise awareness, but to take action and make a bigger impact. So over many morning coffees the Gotcha4Life Project was born.
Mike: Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australian men aged between 15-44, and it creates a devastating ripple throughout our society - it’s not just lives lost, it’s also the effect it has on family and friends. There are huge numbers of people suffering everyday from mental health issues. We know steps can be taken to improve a persons mental state, so it’s our mission to be ‘enablers’, to reach as many people as we can.
Gareth: Mike and I also experienced the devastating loss of a friend who took his life suddenly in January 2017. We were both upset and angry at the loss of this great man and mentor. We saw it as a call to action, to make something happen that screamed from the rooftops: ‘Enough is enough’!, Our team at AVAAL Group, was already working in the mental health space filming a documentary with Gus, which looks at how DNA affects our physical and mental health. We’re all passionate about this and between us we can really make an impact.
Gareth: We wanted a term that summed up what it means to really understand someone and to support them for the long term - simple - we've got you for life...
You have an Amazing advisory board. How did that come about?
Gus: I reached out to people who I really respected and knew were equally passionate about making a positive impact on men’s mental health. Some I have known for 45 years and some for just a few. Not one of them had to be asked twice!
I wanted a board of clever, kind and experienced people. I feel honoured to have their support. And I'm grateful they are giving up their time to take real action and make in-roads to improve the state of men's mental health in Australia.
We have a good mix of corporate, media and social entrepreneurs, all heavy hitters, including Danielle Di Pilla, Lucy Dunn, Jennifer Cummins and Curt Zuber.
I understand you have a Founding Supporter
Gareth: Yes, from the outset, Chemist Warehouse was on board as the Founding Supporter of the Gotcha4Life Project. They’ve been incredible. This issue is something their team feels passionate about supporting. They have a strong belief in our goals and their commitment is far deeper than just financial. In fact, Gotcha4Life is being fully embraced by the whole Chemist Warehouse organisation for the long haul. They’re an inspiring company to work with.
And explain the Man Hug in the logo?
Gus: Men are great at banter. But we want to encourage men to escape ‘banterland’ and share their real feelings, then offer up a hug- so men know they are valued and supported by other men. The Man Hug is a vital component of Gotcha4Life; It’s about giving your mates permission to have a deeper conversation if something is troubling them.
I love a good hug.If you want to know more about what the AVAALERS are doing with Gotcha4life have a look at - Gotcha4life.org