HARDEN THE FUCK UP.
SUCK IT UP. MAN UP.
These are words we’ve all heard plenty of times before. We’re Aussies! We pride ourselves on being a country where men stare down problems with a steely, unflinching gaze, right?
This may sound good in theory, but in reality we live in a country where suicide is the number one cause of death of men between the ages of 14 – 44. In fact, 80% of all suicides in Australia are men.
Why is this? Well, we all go through tough times in life. That’s an inescapable fact.
The big factor is how we respond during these tough times. Sometimes we can be a little too stubborn and proud to take action or to get help when we need to. Sometimes we don’t want to burden other people with our problems. Sometimes we don’t even realise things are a problem until they’ve become a lot worse than they should be.
There is one common theme that underpins it all: As Australian boys and men, we’re taught to bottle up the thoughts and feelings we have. At its core, “sucking it up and just getting on with life” is built on the idea of resilience – which is a positive thing. The problem is that ignoring problems doesn’t actually build resilience.
We live in a country where, everyday, five men kill themselves. Five men took their own lives today and another five will tomorrow. When it’s an easier option for men in your country to suicide than to talk about how they’re feeling, you know you need to rethink your nation’s culture.
WE DON’T NEED TO REDEFINE MASCULINITY.
WE NEED TO UNDEFINE IT.
Some people might say that talking about your feelings isn’t a “manly” thing to do. We say that’s bullshit. We think taking action to make things better is a bold step to make. We think looking out for your mates and having a real conversation with them is a sign of strength and mateship at its best. We think sharing vulnerability demonstrates bravery. At the end of the day, though, we’re not here to try and define what masculinity should be – we think that’s irrelevant.
All we care about is keeping the men in this country alive, and the research shows that starting a conversation is the best way to do this.
Soften the Fck Up is an initiative of Spur Projects. At Spur Projects, we’re passionate about making it an easier for men to take positive aciton than to take their own lives. We believe that to tackle the rate of suicide among men in Australia, bold new approaches to suicide prevention are required.
We are a group of volunteers made up of project managers, entrepreneurs, marketers and a range of other professionals working in tandem with mental health experts from across the country.
We are a registered charity with DGR1 status. If you’d like to help support the work we do, then we’d love you to consider making a small donation.