Thanks for listening to another episode of It Ain’t Weak to Speak with Sam Webb. Please rate the podcast and leave a review if you enjoyed it.
What does it mean to be a man? The norms of masculinity tell us that men should be brave, hard working, carry the load and harden up to push through adversity. But as you take a look at society where thousands of men are taking their life by suicide every year, at a rate three times more than women, perhaps we haven’t got it right. The norms of masculinity need to change so that men are encouraged to be brave in speaking up and being vulnerable.
Our guest today is a man whose life is committed to the cause of seeing zero suicides. Through his not-for-profit foundation, Gotcha4Life, Gus Worland and his team fund sustainable educational workshops, training programs and products building mental fitness in communities across Australia to enable strong, open and binding relationships. The message is that no one should do it alone and that every man needs someone to talk to.
Gus was a well loved morning radio show host for Triple M for 10 years where he was awarded Best On Air newcomer in 2010. His life took a completely different track after he tragically lost his dear friend and mentor to suicide. In this episode, Gus opens up about the impact of his friend’s death and how it catapulted him into a journey to understand why male suicide rates in Australia were so high. After a number of years, Gus hosted a documentary series called “Man Up”, exploring masculinity and exposing issues in society that result in significant male mental health issues.
Gus opens up about what he has learned through the making of Man Up and his work with Gotcha4Life and how these things have helped him to be a better father to his three children. We talk about mental fitness and the need to build emotional muscle and how a simple connection is the key to building healthy relationships where men can be vulnerable and safe to share their struggles.
There’s no hiding the fact that things need to change. It’s no easy task but it can be done. As we keep spreading the message that it ain’t weak to speak, we can equip the next generation with the right tools to know how to have a real conversation, how to open up when they’re struggling and how to find help.
TOPICS WE COVER AND WHERE TO FIND THEM:
[3:45]: How Gus has needed a few self care days in the difficult last 6 months
[4:40]: Gus’ opportunity to start hosting his own radio show and his documentary series, “Man Up”
[6:00]: How Gus lost a good friend to suicide which was a catalyst for starting Gotcha 4 Life. Now he’s working around the clock and needs to find the balance to make sure he’s there for his kids.
[8:20]: Gus shares about his friend who committed suicide and how nobody had any idea that he was struggling
[10:30]: How Gus is still angry and sad that his friend is missing out on his children and grandchildren. The ripple effect means that many people’s lives continue to be affected.
[12:50]: The beautiful experience during Man Up filming where a group of young boys opened up about what it means to be a man and how that impacted the relationship between Gus and his son, Jack
[16:00]: How the things Gus has learned through Man Up and Gotcha 4 Life have helped him be a better father, not expecting perfection but making sure his kids are happy. Gus shares about the great decision to take his daughter out of school.
[17:30]: How the narrative around being a man needs to change and that speaking up is one of the hardest things to do
[18:45]: Changing the term mental health to mental fitness. We need to exercise and work on our mental fitness.
[20:00]: How men have been told that it’s weak to be vulnerable but that it’s crucial. As this generation changes, it will be passed on to the next generation so that it’s normal for men to talk about what’s going on.
[21:50]: Gus shares about the day on Triple M where they played just music for the whole day to encourage people to talk to each other. The feedback was that people don’t know how to start a conversation.
[23:00]: Suicide is the death of lonliness. Covid has made things difficult but just because we haven’t been able to touch people doesn’t mean we should be isolated.
[25:30]: How during his keynote speaking events, Gus asks people to send a message to someone they haven’t seen for a while and sit in silence to wait for the reply. It sparked a wide range of emotions and brought connection to thousands of people.
[27:50]: Simple connection is the key. The power of a conversation changes lives.
[29:00]: Working in the prevention arena of mental health makes it difficult to know if you’re doing a good job. But people’s lives have been saved.
[30:00]: The different organisations working in this space should collaborate together because we all want the same thing.
[31:30]: How Movember fronted the cost for Man Up
[32:15]: The vision for Gotcha 4 Life is zero suicides. One is too many.
[33:25]: Gus’ advice to men with the traditional masculine norms. Find a couple of people in your life that you can have a proper conversation, warts and all. It’s the manliest thing you can do.
[35:55]: Try and become the safest person possible in your group. If you’re mentally fit, other people will feel safe to share with you.
[37:26]: Turn your mates into friends so that you can have the deeper conversation when you need to.
LINKS WE MENTIONED:
Gus’ website: https://www.gotcha4life.org/
Thanks for listening to another episode of It Ain’t Weak to Speak with Sam Webb. Please rate the show and leave a review if you enjoyed it.
If after listening to this episode and you don't quite feel right or you want to reach out to someone to speak to, we have provided some useful resources below.
For immediate support please call one of the following 24/7 hotlines. Someone will be ready to take your call. Remember, ‘It Ain’t Weak to Speak’
If you are in Australia:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
If you are in the United States:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text LIVIN to 741741 in the United States
If you would prefer to speak with someone face-to-face, we recommend visiting your local GP (doctor) who will be able to have a chat with you about what is going on in your life and refer you to a mental health professional if required.
For some tools to help you with things like stress, low mood, general worries, please check out our LIVIN tips and tricks here.
If you would like to learn more about LIVIN, join the movement, or help spread the word, please visit us at the links below:
Shop Our Merch collection to support the cause and start a conversation that could save a life.
Get Involved in one of our upcoming events or book a program at your school or workplace.
Donate to support the mission and help us spread the message.
Join us on our Facebook Group to continue the conversation and to connect with our community so that we can help more people.
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