WIMMERA residents are acknowledging men's mental health issues more than ever before, a rural outreach worker says.
Rural outreach worker Mal Coutts said attitudes towards men's mental health in the Wimmera were changing for the better.
"We're acknowledging that it's there rather than telling men to harden up. Now people are actually talking about it and realising that it is a big issue in our communities," he said.
"In regional areas, per capita, it is pretty prominent for us. I wouldn't say that we see it more than in the metropolitan areas, but we hear more about it now because it's not hush-hush.
"It doesn't matter who you are. If you need to talk to someone, please do."
His comments come after a new report revealed that Australian paramedics attended more than 110,000 call-outs to men experiencing acute mental health issues between June 2015 and June 2016.
Of these call-outs, 78.3 per cent of men were transported to hospital. More than half of the call-outs were to men aged between 18 to 44 years.
The report, Beyond the Emergency, details research by Turning Point and Monash University, and is backed by Beyond Blue.
Other key findings revealed that more than 60 per cent of ambulance call-outs also involved alcohol and other drugs, while more than 20 per cent involved more than one mental health issue.
It also found that 42 per cent of call-outs were for men who had multiple attendances at hospital for mental health issues.
Furthermore, it found that there were 30,197 self-harm related attendances, while there were almost twice as many ambulance attendances for suicidal ideation than attempts.
In 2016, there were 2269 suicide deaths - of those, 1720 were men. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44 in Australia.
On average, one in eight men will experience depression, one in five men will experience anxiety, and one in three men will experience alcohol related problems during their lifetimes.
See the full report below
Mr Coutts said there were a number of contributing factors to men's mental health issues in the Wimmera.
"It can be family break-ups, isolation, finance, feelings of helplessness - those are just some of the issues that can put people in that state of mind," he said.
Mr Coutts is now one of three rural outreach workers covering the Horsham municipality, and the Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh and West Wimmera shires.
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"We've been pretty busy, but that just shows that the word is out there and it's good to be able to give the region some help," he said.
"We see some of our clients for half-an-hour a week, while some others we see for two hours. At the moment, I work with between 15 and 20 clients a month, as well as doing community engagement including going to schools and hospitals."
Workers also talk at football clubs, to councils and at men's sheds.
- If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
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