Breaking down barriers: Opening up to your mates |

We chat with Oscar, a grad of the Top Blokes program on his thoughts around masculinities, mental health and opening up to your mates.

“Prior to Top Blokes I thought being masculine was being big and strong [money and cars and all that], what you see on your ‘for you’ page. Now my view on what is masculine is being a good leader, does what they preach, is someone who is open and honest.”

“The program was the turning point. It got me interested in the topic of men’s mental health, I think it’s very interesting and something cool to learn about. Understanding masculinities and getting a deeper perspective of what it is to be a good leader and a good role model. You don’t have to be the cool kid, you don’t have to be the tough kid. You don’t have to be the strong kid for people to look up to you. It’s actually who you really are inside and how you act, it’s beyond what you are physically.”

“My mates, we check in with each other now. The mentality before was that we wouldn’t speak out about anything, we don’t care, we don’t have problems. But hearing from my mates and people I look up to and hearing their stories, it’s kind of reassuring that knowing that you’re not the only one going through something.”

“The NRL and grounds dedicated to mental health and violence against women, it’s a good thing. Nicho Hynes speaks out about men’s mental health and how it is a thing. Young people like myself look up to him. It’s reassuring for us to know that even these big tough guys have stuff going on.”

“[Since the program] you have much closer relationships with your mates. Once I’ve opened up to someone – even if it’s not that serious, even if I’ve just had a shit day – it’s reassuring knowing that someone is there for you. And if something did ever get more serious, you do have someone to talk to. It’s crucial to speak out.”