Radio host Gus Worland is man on a mission: to get your bloke to cry more.
Best known for his role on the bloke-fest that is the Grill Team breakfast show on Triple M, Gus reveals a softer, more sensitive side as host of Man Up, a new ABC doco-series about male mental health issues and suicide.
Launched to coincide with Mental Health Week, the three-part series aims to encourage Aussie men to open up more about their feelings, and by doing so that it’s not a sign of weakness.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia for people aged 15-44. Last year, out of a total of 3027 deaths by suicide, 2292 were men.
Men are also much less likely to seek help than women; research shows that masculine stereotypes reinforce the avoidance of negative emotions.
Gus says expressing his bare emotions is the core of what the show is about.
“We shouldn’t feel that we have to suppress emotion,” Gus tells The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We should totally let it go, because if we bottle it up it won’t be good for our mental health.
“I hope that a lot of other blokes see that and go, ‘well if that big boofhead can do it, then I’ll be able to do it’.”
In 2006, Gus lost one of his best mates, Angus, to suicide. Angus was one of the 2000 men that take their own life in Australia every year – many of whom show little or no warning signs, sending devastating ripple effects through families, friends and society as a whole.
A decade on, Gus is still bewildered by the death of his friend, who always seemed so strong and charismatic. “He was a hero to me. This awesome, untouchable, always positive guy. The kind of guy you went to for answers.” He can’t understand why Angus didn’t reach out for help.
As he looks to find out why, Gus discovers a frightening link between the stoic ideals of manhood that so many men struggle to uphold– and the unacceptably high male suicide rate in Australia. Is the pressure to harden up making men crack?
With his teenage son, Jack, on the edge of manhood, the timing for Gus is more critical than ever.
What‘s the best way for any man to survive in the modern world? Gus embarks on a rollicking journey into the world of masculinity, crisscrossing Australia to reveal tough Aussie blokes as you’ve never seen them before: vulnerable and raw, real and relatable, senses of humour intact.
Gus is up for anything, and nothing is off-limits – from charting the rise of the man hug, to unique male bonding rituals, and burgeoning fashion trends.
- Man Up, ABC, Tuesday, October 11, 8.30pm