The Guardian Australia has published an extract from Julia Gillard’s John Curtin prime ministerial library’s anniversary lecture.
Stay with me…
She talks about John Curtin’s life as a wartime leader. She says his “mental health journey resonates today with the work of Beyond Blue, particularly when it comes to men’s mental health”. Remember she is now chair of the mental health organisation.
“Pressure to conform means too many men still bottle things up, trying to go it alone – as Curtin did – which increases the likelihood of their depression or anxiety going unrecognised and untreated,” she says. “We know that untreated depression increases the risk of suicide, and to some degree, this contributes to the difference in number of men and women taking their own lives.”
Off she trots down the garden path about men trying to pretend to be strong while slipping into depression.
Isn’t it absolutely bizarre that Gillard and politicians still refuse to join these dots?
One of the first priorities for anyone suffering from depression is to work out the root cause. Yes, in Curtin’s life, psychological battles would understandably have been exacerbated as a wartime leader. The trigger for his struggles was, possibly, a product of his circumstance.
She has recognised that.
When will she, and all of our political leaders, start to stand up and recognise the societal factors that are pushing men into dark depression?
It doesn’t just magically descend.
The fight that men alienated from their children are battling in the gender-biased Family Court, that Gillard herself set ablaze, is daily. They are fighting an invisible war. Why do you continue to ignore it?
If you care about mental health and depression, you must acknowledge what is pushing people into such mental turmoil.
You must acknowledge anti-men messaging and policy is doing damage.
Chattering away about “stigma” is not addressing the real problem.
Gillard said, “Untreated depression is one of the most significant risk factors in suicide and in Australia in 2015, there were 3.027 deaths: more than eight a day. Of those deaths 75 per cent were men – that’s six men a day taking their own lives.”
Now, your next focus is to address why.