Why Having Mates Is So ImportantNov 19, 2022
Loneliness was a growing, global concern well before the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s only increasing now. Men, in particular, are prone to experiencing loneliness and are also less likely to seek out help or admit their loneliness.
The Australian research into ‘Men’s Social Connectedness’ found that:
- 25% of men felt they had no one outside of their immediate family to rely upon
- 76% of men felt they were not emotionally supported
- 60% of men felt that they were not a part of a community
- 67% of men stated they know their friends would be uncomfortable talking about personal issues if brought up
We are hardwired for connection, it’s what gives us purpose and meaning to our lives, and as we grow older, connecting seems to become less of a priority - especially for men. Sadly in our frantic modern world, authentic connection is declining and plays a huge part to the mental health of adult men.
Studies show that loneliness doesn’t just affect men’s mental health. The risk of cardiovascular disease is heightened, as well as sleep dysfunction. Men who are lonely are also more likely to suffer from alcohol and substance abuse.
It’s time to encourage the men in our lives to share what they are experiencing and let them know that it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength – to open up about loneliness and mental health.
How to reconnect and make new connections as an adult?
1. Reach out: Is there an old friend you haven’t seen in a while? Chances are they want to catch up too, however life just got in the way! Start with a simple text, call or email and get the conversation going.
2. Join a community group: Mongrels Men is a community group designed to bring men together through fitness, sports and connection. Men’s Shed, The ManKind Project, and Men’s Table are also great resources.
3. Accept invitations: Maybe you’ve been withdrawing from social situations. Start saying ‘yes’ to new things and embrace getting out of your comfort zone.
4. Look for opportunities to meet new people: Volunteer for a charity or engage in a new hobby. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people is the best way to make authentic connections.
5. Tell someone how you are feeling: Whilst admitting you’re lonely can be challenging, in doing so will help you connect with others and lighten the load you may be experiencing.
If you are experiencing loneliness and don’t know who to talk to, call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.