College Captain promotes men's mental health awareness

Nagle College Captain Duncan Fisher is raising awareness of men’s mental health within the College community; an initiative which coincides with Victoria’s fifth lockdown and a return to remote learning for students.

Amanda Vowell

Marketing Officer

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Media presentations of mental health have increased in recent years, with the suicide of high-profile athletes, celebrities and most recently the pandemic. Despite the increased awareness in media, Duncan believes there is still a stigma that needs to be broken, especially among young males.

“I was motivated to choose men’s mental health for my public speaking topic when I found out that men our age (17-18) all the way up until 44 are twice as likely to die from suicide than a road accident,” said Duncan.

“As Seniors, many of us are getting our licenses. Adults are drilling into us the importance of being careful on the road. They worry,” said Duncan, “but through my research I realised the real killer of young men is suicide – which is often left in the dark.”

While delivering his speech, Duncan asked the Year 12 men to look around. “Out of the 40 or so males in Year 12, statistically, five may suffer from depression and a further eight may suffer from anxiety. Putting it into perspective like that hit close to home.”

“Men’s mental health needs more awareness so we can better look after ourselves, have a strong support network for our mates and so we know what to do when we are in crisis,” said Duncan.

“I was scrolling through TikTok and came across a video by a New Zealand fisherman who likened mental health breakdown with a broken boat motor,” said Duncan. “He asked ‘if your tinny breaks down at sea, do you put your ego aside and call someone?’”

“Just like when a tinny motor breaks, calling someone when you are having a mental health crisis could prevent a devastating consequence,” said Duncan. “I used the analogy of a boat motor to implore men to seek help when faced with mental health issues.”

“My hope is that the next time a parent asks us to ‘be careful’ or ‘ring me when you’re there’, we are all reminded of what the real killer is, and, using a quote from Beyond Blue “check yourself, check your mates and get help if you need it.”

A poster, designed by Duncan, acts as a reminder to check in with each other. This poster will circulate the College throughout Term 3.

“Our student leaders have been active this year and I commend Duncan on this most recent initiative to help our students as they navigate these challenging times. Duncan spoke about the importance of being connected and this is a feature of Nagle’s pastoral structures and program,” said Nagle’s Principal, Mr Neville Powles.

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