Some comic ideas come from everyday musing or stories our friends tell us. Other ideas form in our minds and take days, weeks or months to gestate. And some comic ideas come from wanting really bad to draw a cute green snake.
For the upcoming issue of M2 I wrote an intro for the Health section. Consider what I’m writing now as the intro for the intro. I thought it was important enough to share here.
A few months ago a raw message was delivered to us guys from Jono and Ben of all places. Jono Pryor took time at the end of the show to talk about the suicide of a friend. His message still brings a lump to my throat as I read it now.
“I just want to say one thing. What I’ve learnt this week is that if you are suffering a mental illness… No one thinks less of you for sharing your thoughts, no one thinks less of you for taking your medicine, and no one thinks less of you for dealing with a mental illness”.
It came at a time when a mate of mine started to go on medication for anxiety and depression. He took steps quickly when he saw the slippery slope he was on and dealt with it. He admitted to me later he was only confident to do it because the crew at Penny Arcade, an online webcomic, talked about their own mental health disorders openly.
Suicide is one of the highest causes of death in men in New Zealand, and other preventable deaths take up the rest of the list.
We like to go it alone and not talk about this stuff. I know that personally I need to be told by my wife that bleeding from places you shouldn’t bleed from is in fact cause to go and have a checkup with the doctor.
It’s this stoic attitude that is screwing us over and it’s why we need groups like Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week and Jono Pryor to occasionally come out and remind us to get our head in the game and check up on each other.
Men’s Health Month kicks off in June, and it’s not going to take growing a mo to start taking action. All they’re asking is that we start talking about it and chatting to our mates. It’s something that’s summed up in their #MenStartTalking hashtag pretty concisely.
As you dip into the health articles that follow, all with their hot tips on how to sleep better or lose weight, remember your mates. Ask them how they’re doing, and maybe open up a little about what’s going on with yourself. You might find you’re fighting the same demons.