Brisbane businessman and father Dean Merlo is urging Queensland blokes to reach out to their mates today in a step towards improving men’s mental health.
Mr Merlo, owner of Merlo coffee, witnessed his cousin Chris battle serious mental health issues and says the support of family and friends is vital in helping people get back on track.
With today being RU OK Day, Mr Merlo is calling on Queensland men to man up, break down barriers and start a conversation with a mate about how they are feeling.
Research has shown that while 70 per cent of men believed their friends could rely on them for support, less half (48%) reached out for help themselves.i.
“Men have come a long way when it comes to talking about their feelings compared with our dads’ generation, but we still have some distance to travel and the statistics prove that - about 45 men commit suicide every week in Australia,” Mr Merlo said.
“We’re not going to solve every bloke’s problem over an espresso but I’m calling on Queensland men to start the conversation.”
In honour of RU OK Day, all Merlo cafes across Queensland will offer two-for-one coffees from 2-4pm today in a push to get men to prioritise their mental health for one afternoon.
“As blokes, we’re comfortable investing time in our physical health by going to the gym and cycling with friends but we tend not to focus as much on our mental wellbeing,” Mr Merlo said.
“What’s worse is that most of us don’t tell our mates when we’re struggling with a problem.”
Mr Merlo said his own company research revealed both men and women were more likely to catch up with the friends for a coffee (36%) rather than a beer (22%) or a glass of wine (21%).
“Men have become comfortable socialising with friends over a coffee rather than beers at the local pub, but we need them to take that next step and speak up,” he said.
“One conversation over a cup of coffee could end up saving a mate’s life.”