It’s never weak to speak! On the contrary, it takes courage to ask for help.

That’s the message from Centacare’s Eric Cruz in Men’s Health Week (MHW).

The newly appointed R U OK? Ambassador is on a mission to build understanding, connection and confidence in males of all ages so that they feel comfortable to seek support for struggles in life.

“Mental health for men has always been taboo, and men asking for help is too often seen as weakness,’’ Eric said.

“This must change.’’ 

Building healthy environments for men and boys in the home, workplace and social settings is the focus of MHW, a global campaign promoted annually in June.

Having experienced his own mental health challenges, Eric, a foster care Recruitment and Assessment Officer, knows what a difference speaking up can make.

“I found there was a real gap in services for males to access help,’’ he said.

“Building healthy environments and normalising discussions around mental health from a young age is hugely important because it can help to close that gap.

“It takes courage to speak up but knowing there are people around you who will listen and support you through life’s ups and downs is a source of comfort and confidence.’’

Eric’s passion for mental health led him to undertake the R U OK? Community Ambassador Program. He has joined a network of R U OK? Ambassadors with lived experience from across Australia to initiate conversations about mental health and suicide prevention.

“It’s an important role and I hope that I can continue to start conversations and help to lead change in society where it’s not weak to speak.’’

Statistics show that boys suffer more illness, more accidents and dier earlier than their female counterparts.

Men take their own lives at four times the rate of women, while accidents, cancer, and heart disease all account for the majority of male deaths.