It’s important you encourage men to ‘take action’ through a holistic approach to their social and emotional wellbeing. This can include:
Most importantly, develop an action plan in consultation with the person you’re supporting.
People need to feel connected in some way. Homeless men can be very isolated.Aamir, a man with lived experience of homelessness
Men who are homeless or at risk of homelessness may feel isolated and alone. These feelings can be magnified by the experience of anxiety and depression. If they don’t have family, friends and support networks, it may fall on you to listen, offer support and facilitate recreational activities.
When appropriate, you could offer to organise an appointment with the following health professionals:
Or, you could try:
Not all men will want to see a psychologist or psychiatrist. They may have had a bad experience in the past and will dismiss it for next time. If you can find out their fears, you might be able to build a more responsive and supportive action plan.
It’s a good idea to research local mental health clinics, and have information on hand when you work out the action plan. And always follow your organisation’s policies on referral and assessment procedures.
GPs are the best starting point for men seeking professional help. A good GP can:
Psychiatrists are doctors who specialise in mental health. They can make medical and psychiatric assessments, conduct medical tests, provide therapy and prescribe medication. If the depression is severe and hospital admission is needed, a psychiatrist will be in charge of the person's treatment.
A GP will refer someone to see a psychiatrist if the depression or anxiety is severe, lasts for a long time, is associated with a high risk of self-harm or has failed to respond to treatment.Mental Health Nurse Practitioners
Specially trained to care for people with mental health problems, these practitioners work with psychiatrists and GPs to review the state of a person's mental health and monitor their medication. They also provide people with information about mental health problems and treatment.Social workers in mental health
Social workers can support people with depression and anxiety by helping them find ways of managing situations that trigger these disorders. These can include family issues, financial problems, work stress and living arrangements. They can also provide psychological self-help strategies, like relaxation training, problem solving and stress management.Occupational therapists in mental health
Occupational therapists help people who have difficulty functioning because of a mental health problem to take part in normal, everyday activities. They can also provide focused psychological self-help strategies.Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workers
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workers understand the issues facing Indigenous people and what’s needed to provide culturally safe and accessible services. They can help with:
Counsellors work in many places, from youth services and private practices to community health centres, schools and universities. A counsellor can talk through problems and look for possible solutions, like providing referral options to trained mental health professionals in the local community.
Find out the counsellor's qualifications and whether they’re registered with a state board or a professional society. A good counsellor will be happy to provide this information.Complementary health practitioners
Despite there being many alternative and complementary treatments for depression and anxiety, many aren’t covered by Medicare.
If a person wants complementary treatment, you can:
You need to respect this. But this doesn’t mean give up. Try again another time, or ask a different caseworker to start a conversation.If someone does want support
Follow up. Check in to see how he’s going, or how his appointment went. If you agreed to do something, like researching GPs, make sure you do it. This builds trust and a solid rapport.
Maintaining your own wellbeing is important for you, the men you’re supporting, and your colleagues. It can be stressful dealing with depression and anxiety, so here are some tips for looking after yourself: