Breaking down harmful stereotypes

Gus Worland (fourth from right) and a group of local supporters walked Tumut River on Sunday morning, offering their ear to anyone who might be struggling with mental health issues or concerns.

Media personality, Gotcha for Life founder and Tomorrow Man ambassador Gus Worland simply wants to reduce the rate of suicide among Australian men aged 15-44.

“We lose six blokes to suicide every day in Australia, which is a scary fact,” Worland said.

“For Australian men aged 15-44, suicide is the most common way for men to die and I just have to shake my head.”

Worland has been visiting Tumut for some time now, working in with community groups and sporting clubs to curb the rate of suicide, while letting men know it’s okay to talk and discuss and embrace mental health issues.

“Ever since I was on the Grill Team with Matty Johns and MG (Mark Geyer) with Sydney radio, Jo Murrell has been on to me and hammering me, saying ‘I have to look after the men in this region that is going through a tough time’,” Worland said.

Since then, Worland has fallen in love with the region and on Sunday during his walk, he acknowledged that it had been a rough trot for men, especially those suffering through mental health issues.

“This has certainly been a tough time with the drought on and now the bushfires and it is has been hard for those blokes dealing with the brunt of it, along with their own concerns,” Worland said.

“We love this area and its people and we will do whatever we can to help instigate change and teach men how to deal with their emotions.”

Worland believes his work with Tumut and surrounds can be a catalyst for change and he is encouraging local community groups to get men talking and embracing their feelings; feelings that they have previously been told to keep deep down.

“We don’t need blokes to keep trying to live up to that stereotypical Aussie bloke who holds onto his emotions and keep burying those feelings deep down and so forth; it’s not working,” Worland said.

“We should be teaching blokes that you can be emotional and you can be vulnerable and that talking about your feelings is okay.”

The former radio host explained how he planned on using his work in the local region to help make changes in other areas of NSW and Australia.

“We are now using this region as a template to then pick it up and potentially take it to other regions in Australia,” Worland said.

“I went down and spoke to the Prime Minister in Canberra two Fridays ago and said to him if you look at what we are doing in that Tumut area, it’s a wonderful template to show that a community can get together and build some mental fitness by having events on.

“I hope this region can be the catalyst for change and we are spreading the seed for change with men in that next generation.

Worland is planning on coming back to Tumut and surrounds again shortly for two of the region’s biggest events.

“We are back again for the (Batlow) CiderFest and the Tumut Colour Run and we hope to see as many people there as possible and I will be around to have a chat with anyone who wants to talk,” Worland said.

Worland did have one final message for local men who might be struggling and implored anyone going through a bad time to speak up. 

“It used to be man up, shut up but now it is man up, speak up and if you need to talk, find someone and just talk,” Worland said. 

For more information on Worland’s work with Gotcha4life or Tomorrow Man, visit https://www.gotcha4life.org/ or https://www.tomorrowman.com.au/.