Something has gone horribly wrong in Australian society.
Depression and mental illness are now significant and growing concerns.
Pressures have become so great, and our ability to cope so impaired that every day, six Australian men take their own lives and another 30 try. That’s where Gotcha4Life’s ‘Schools Program’ comes in.
Gotcha4Life is a foundation set up by media personality Gus Worland and businessmen Gareth Pike and Mike Charter to combat Australia’s male suicide crisis on a variety of fronts.
They’re working with Lifeline, with mental-health sector start-ups, and on a campaign to encourage men to have a serious conversation with their mates and seal it with a man hug, so our men know they are valued and supported.
Gotcha4Life is also committed to improving the mental health of our kids.
The charity is now supporting a powerful initiative that will be taken into at least 100 schools nationwide to educate our 1.4 million teenage students about what it really means to be an Australian man.
‘Tomorrow’s Man’ is a no-holds barred presentation and conversation with students and their ‘significant male’ about the state of men and how to look after yourself, your mates and your family.
The program has been created by a team highly-qualified in the male youth space. It will be facilitated by ‘bloke whisperer’ Tom Harkin who will let the boys know being a man is NOT about being tough, strong and invulnerable, but that in a life filled with ups and downs, it’s OK to ask for help.
“This is the most important aspect of the Gotcha4Life project,” says Gus. “Boys are learning unrealistic expectations and this is leading to feelings of insecurity and failure. We will help smash the stereotype and let the kids know they don’t have to live up to anything.”
The first of the schools programs has been launched at Sydney’s prestigious Knox Grammar School where more than 240 men and their boys, students from Years 7-12, gathered for the event.
And it began with awkward silence..
“That’s the whole problem,” says Gus. “If it was a room full of women you wouldn’t be able to hear yourself think,” he laughs. “Tom drew everyone’s attention to the quiet- because that’s the essence of what he’s saying. Men don’t talk enough. It was a powerful message.
“There were tears and there were hugs,” says Gus. “It was life changing for every man and boy in the room and it certainty affirmed our commitment to taking this program into schools right across Australia.”