While commercial marketing focuses on selling bags of dad-favourite confectionary in oversized dad packs or cooking a meaty meal high in saturated fats on September 6, Father's Day is an opportunity to think about men’s health.
An initiative in the Geelong region of Victoria, is raising awareness and funds for local men’s health, highlighting the fact that 60-65 per cent of the 3000 people in Geelong afflicted by heart disease each year - 500 requiring surgery - are men.
One of them was the project’s Ambassador Glenn Keast, who on his 50th birthday on May 30 suffered a cardiac arrest.
“I have no memory of it, but thankfully my two boys and an off-duty University Hospital Geelong nurse rushed to my aid to assist with resuscitation before I was rushed to Barwon Health’s University Hospital Geelong in a critical condition,” said Glenn, a local football coach.
“In the lead up to and because of COVID lockdown I’d probably trained more than normal and felt fitter than any time in my recent memory.
“It’s now five and half weeks since my cardiac arrest and the first five days are almost a complete blank."
The Father’s Day project focuses on awareness around the three greatest issues facing men in the area: cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental health.
As Glen points out, unfit people aren’t the only ones at risk. “It’s a stigma that is out there, that it won’t happen to me, because I keep myself fit.”
Local father and real estate agent Will Ainsworth is backing Barwon’s initiative, opening up about his own mental health battles following the loss of his father.
“I’ve been managing depression for the past eight years. It’s been quite the journey and I’ve had some really dark days and horrible times,” Mr Ainsworth told the Geelong Advertiser.
“Managing my mental health has been a long-term journey. I have been seeing a psychologist fairly regularly for the past eight years and I am also on a low dose of antidepressants.
“I am very conscious of my body and health now, so I spend a lot of time keeping tabs on my own mental health. Exercise and diet help me a lot in managing. Another passion of mine is running, it really helps me.”
He has now pivoted professionally to coaching other real estate agents to be better agents.
The Australian Men's Health Forum is celebrating dads ahead of Father's Day on September 6 with a series of articles on fathering and highlighting initiatives that support men and boys.
CHECK OUT THE DAD FILES on AMHF