Mental Health statistics for the Riverina region report that men in Griffith are nearly five times more likely to take their own life than women. November being men's health awareness month, addressing the struggles men face when it comes to seeking help and opening up is vital to saving lives.
- Griffith Suicide Prevention and Support Group: 1300 133 911
Tristan's Barber on Yambil street provides an unlikely safe space where men feel comfortable to open up about life and prioritise looking after themselves, something that owner Tristan Sergi says helps increase men's self esteem.
"If you look good you feel good so it's a massive part of how guys feel about themselves," Mr Sergi said.
"I hear a lot of things behind the chair from young boys to old ones - men open up here.
"They share what they've been through and I hear things like that daily and I just keep it to myself and help wherever I can."
Mr Sergi is no stranger to tough times having experienced mental health challenges throughout his life, but he stresses men should not feel ashamed to speak out for help.
"I can relate a lot to people because of my own battles with my mental health," Mr Sergi said.
"Throughout my life I've been through a lot of mental health struggles myself and that's why I like to give back.
"Men's mental health needs to be out there, it needs to be talked about. Men need to know it's not weak to speak."
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
Clinical nurse consultant at Griffith Community Mental Health, Stephen Blowfield says that men in regional communities face many unique challenges that can have an impact on their mental health. Struggles with the realities of farming businesses and relationship stresses within families as well as with intimate partners are common for men accessing services here. However, it's the men who are not reaching out for help that are of great concern.
"Men will tend to look to other ways to deal with their emotional crisis like drugs or alcohol which of course makes them worse," Mr Blowfield said.
There is this 'stiff upper lip' mentality Mr Blowfield says, which can sometimes be good with getting through challenges, but can be an issue when it comes to articulating and facing problems.
Mr Blowfield highlighted the importance of men having access in the community to safe spaces such as 'men's sheds' and groups to be able to talk about the challenges they face.