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Module 1: Social and emotional wellbeing

The very real impact of homelessness, depression and anxiety.


If men are resilient, have good coping skills and can adapt to daily challenges, they're more likely to achieve social and emotional wellbeing.

There are many factors that support an individual’s social and emotional wellbeing, including:

Being socially connected
  • Supportive relationships with at least one person
  • Involvement in community and group activities
  • Family cohesion and harmony
  • Good social skills
Having strong life skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Anger management
  • Problem solving
  • Positive coping skills.
Being free from discrimination and violence
  • Being valued as a person
  • Being physically safe
  • Being in control of one’s own life
Having access to economic resources
  • Work
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Money.

When men experience homelessness, they’re less likely to achieve social and emotional wellbeing and more likely to experience anxiety and depression.


The causes of depression and anxiety differ for everyone. Whether it’s a particularly tough time in a man’s life, or a combination of things built up over time, here are some risk factors you can look out for:

  • Physical health problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Employment problems
  • Social isolation
  • Significant change in living arrangements, like separation or divorce
  • Partner’s pregnancy and birth of a baby
  • Drug and alcohol use.

Because of sleeping out and so on, people get chronically ill; mentally, physically and emotionally smashed.


The link between anxiety, depression and homelessness is inextricable.


Around 85 percent of people experiencing homelessness have a mental illness, compared to just 20 percent of the general population.

For some men, depression and anxiety are a key factor to becoming homeless. For others, their homelessness is due to reasons like job loss and relationship breakdown. Either way, men experiencing homelessness are more at risk of depression and anxiety because of added stresses like:

  • Financial concerns
  • Family and domestic violence
  • Experienced trauma, often multiple kinds
  • No food
  • Difficulty accessing services
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Lost sense of identity

More than three million Australians experience depression or anxiety each year. Of those, 1.4 million are men.

Most men describe the physical symptoms of depression, like feeling tired or losing weight, rather than how they feel emotionally. This means depression isn’t often picked up. And if it’s not detected, it can’t be treated.

For some, depression can become severe and disabling; depression is a high risk factor for suicide, with men accounting for 80 percent of all deaths.


Right now, I’ve probably got four fellows who I know need help.

Module 2

Funded by beyondblue with thanks to funding from the Australian Government’s Taking Action to Tackle Suicide Initiative.