Many young Australian men are not happy. And unhappy young men grow up to be unhappy and unproductive older men. Services exist that could help them, but guys are not using them. Young men are much less likely to seek help than young women. In fact studies show that only 13% of young men are getting the help they need.
We have led research into what is behind men’s attitudes towards seeking help, and we have identified that a large part of the problem is the way that our Australian society expects men to behave. Young men learn that being a man means that they should solve their issues independently, and often view seeking help as a sign of failure. The majority of services that exist to support young men ask them to come forward to talk about their problems. Our eMental Fitness Program will not ask men to talk - it will allow guys to develop the skills they need to improve their wellbeing in a man-friendly way. The eMental Fitness Program will encourage guys to set themselves goals, and then compete with one another to achieve their own unique goals. It will offer them advice and support whilst they do, borrowing techniques such as positive-thinking from sports psychology.
Inspire is a non-profit organisation that was started in Australia by Jack Heath a former advisor to he Australian Prime Minister, and has since spread to Ireland and USA. (The tool that we develop here in Australia will be evaluated and the learning and platform will be shared with our American and Irish branches.) Inspire was the first non-profit to create an online mental health service - ReachOut.com. This service was used by over 450,000 Australians last year. The US version is visited by over 50,000 teens and young adults each month. We have a track record of creating new insights from research, and then working with young people to actually turn those insights into services that work. Our research into young men has been conducted in partnership with Professor Ian Hickie who started the Australian organisation BeyondBlue. The fitness program will be led by Mariesa Nicholas, who is our resident expert at user-centred design, and project managed by Ifca Dragicevic, who is our Queen of delivery.