Men are in crisis

Men are in crisis.

The statistics on male mental health were bad enough that my first response, upon learning about them, was to leave my career and started helping. I saw it as a call to action.

I offer a challenge to men out there – seek help if you need it. Seek help before you need it – be ready for hard times. Have a good relationship with a counsellor – a mate at your side when the black dog comes barking w save you precious time if you already have someone ready and able if the time comes.

There’s no reason you should be alone when you need someone to talk to. We have to step past mental health awareness and work on mental health action. It can be hard to ask. Believe me when I say I know. That first step is the hardest – its easier from there.

The discomfort, the self imposed resistance we feel towards speaking up, melts away in seconds after saying “can I talk to you?” It really does. It’s so freeing – so powerful. A weight will be lifted from your shoulders that you didn’t even really realise was there.

We’ve heard the message – lets act on it. Let’s ask “R U OK”, and then truly hear the answer, learn how to be there when someone says ‘no’.

Lets learn to tell people that we’re not okay, without having to be asked.

Lets do it. Lets make a new normal.

Reach out.

How I got started as a counsellor

What a week! I went live on Monday, after spending the last week getting approval for my Counselling registration and Insurance. It’s been a heck of a journey to get this far!

I also met with a supervisor this week and it was a wonderful and inspiring experience! But what I thought I’d do here is a share a little bit more about myself and how I got into counselling.

I first considered counselling as a career in 2015, when I was almost four years into a career in railway construction. Mates in Construction, a non-profit organisation dedicated towards improving the state of mental health in the construction industry, came to the camp (Roy Hill Rail Camp 3), and gave us a talk about mental health, where we can go for assistance, and worked on making us aware of, and breaking down the stigma of talking about our mental health.

It was heavy – but something clicked in me. I wanted to know more, so I attended the seminar twice. I was really interested – I wanted to do more. As much as I enjoyed being outdoors, physical work, and having a great team, I really felt a calling to help people!

With a few months remaining on the project, I started looking at what to do next. I talked with the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, whose Diploma program still looks amazing to me, but eventually settled on a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology & Counselling at Edith Cowan University. I applied, and waited.

Unfortunately, I didn’t finish high school. The dream would have been over before it began if not for ECU’s amazing UniPrep program! It’s a free program which gives you a university entry score and coaches you on the essentials of uni life! I wouldn’t have gotten in without it – and it gave me all the skills I’d need to make it this far.

I started Uniprep on the 27th of July, 2015. I finished in November, and in January, received a letter saying I’d been accepted into a degree. My heart swelled – I’d made it. It meant the world to me – I’d done what I’d been told was permanently off the table for me.

In 2016, I, someone who couldn’t finish high school because of my own issues with mental health, made it to uni, to start a new journey, and maybe one day, be there for people in need – whether it was school kids doing it tough, or a mate in construction who just needed an ear.

These experiences have really shaped who I am as a counsellor, and what I want to achieve. I want to be there for people who need it – to be there and show them that things can be better.

I’m here for you. Reach out.

Here for all

Studying psychology and counselling is often seen by some as an invitation to share the frustration they have with their counsellor or psychologist, or therapists past.

And that upset me a bit – I saw someone who reached out for help, but was connected with a therapist who couldn’t see past part of their life. Eventually I noticed a few trends.

And one thing thats always interested me is trends – a lot of my research at university, when I had the freedom to pick a topic, was on groups who’d struggle to find a counsellor who could work effectively with them. I wanted to know more about people in need who have unnecessary barriers put in front of them.

And ironically for someone who is supposed to understand feelings professionally – I don’t understand why someone, especially in a caring profession, would be homophobic – or biphobic, transphobic, or acephobic, for that matter. I heard a lot of stories about people needing help, and not getting it. There’s something so fundamentally wrong with that.

I changed career and started studying to help people – and I find these stories about people who reach out, only to be judged for who they are – or part of who they are? That’s so wrong to me.

So excuse my rant, but I’m just going to come out and say what I wanted to say.

If you’re a member of the LGBTQIA community, engaged in kink/BDSM, sex work, body modification, I’m here for you. I remember when I worked on the rails, up north, working a FIFO job, feeling like other people just didn’t get how hard it can be.

If you’ve ever felt judged or not heard, or not understood, simply for being who you are, try me. You are who I’m here for.

Reach out.

Welcome to the start of my journey!

Hi readers, and welcome to the start of my journey as a professional counsellor.

I mean, I’ve been in a school welfare & wellbeing role since February 2019, and it’s been a blast! I’m there now – and as someone who really wanted to work in schools, and youth mental health, it was a dream come true!

But this year has presented a whole range of new challenges for me – and everyone. And I wanted to do more. So last week I applied for my counselling registration, and yesterday my insurance was approved, so I opened up Counselling with Mike.

I’ll go more into my story in later posts, but I came to study Counselling and Psychology in 2016 after working in the construction industry. I have a lot of interests, but they’re easily distilled down to to – I want to help people who’d otherwise struggle to get help. That’s really it – that’s my mission in mental health.

I’m starting this blog for accountability, a public journal, and maybe even a resource for present and future early career counsellors. I remember finishing up with uni and thinking “wait, what now?” The counsellor pathway isn’t as laid out as the psychology ones – it can be tough to navigate and figure out “what’s next”

Thankfully I have a fantastic team who’ve supported me in my school role. Next up on the to-do list – find a supervisor!

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!