EHON Chan wants men to “Soften the f— up”. No, he’s not being rude, that’s just the name of his online campaign reminding men it’s alright to ask for help when faced with mental health issues. Jowee Tee reports.
EHON Chan wants men to “Soften the f— up”.
No, he’s not being rude, that’s just the name of his online campaign reminding men it’s alright to ask for help when faced with mental health issues.
The campaign comes as the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistic figures show 2191 people took their own lives in 2008. That’s almost double the number of people who died in road accidents in the same year. Almost 78 per cent of those who suicided were male.
Speaking in the video, Ehon encourages men not to be ashamed about their feelings.
The Malaysian-born 24-year-old international student says the campaign is aimed at the ‘real men’ who believe mental illness is a sign of weakness.
“It’s all about being man enough to seek help and face up to problems whenever something isn’t right, instead of bottling it up to fit into the mold of what a ‘man’ is, namely one that doesn’t talk about his emotions,” he says.
No stranger to tragedy, Ehon had to deal with the death of his best friend when he was 16. He says the feelings of intense sadness and despair he had at the time were what inspired the campaign.
When later confronted with a friend who was struggling to accept his mental illness because believed it was “unmanly”, Ehon says he had to act.
“Without first shifting the stereotype of the ‘real man’ as the alpha, masculine male who doesn’t talk about emotions, we cannot reduce the stigma around mental health and all its associated issues.”
The Soften the F— Up campaign is being run with the support of PlanBig, a Bendigo and Adelaide Bank initiative that uses social networking to get information about community issues out to as many people as possible.
Through the site, Ehon says he’s received some great feedback and even a few offers from people wanting to partner with him in his efforts.
Unsurprisingly he’s also earned a few critics, especially from anti-feminist blogs that are convinced the campaign wants to turn men soft and into the effeminate equivalent of women.
But Ehon refuses to get caught up in the hate, saying all he wants the campaign to do is increase mental health awareness among men and promote help-seeking behaviour.
“Every young man should grow up in an environment where they can feel comfortable being themselves. An environment where they get every opportunity in the world to be who they want to be, to be successful and happy, and everyone deserves to be happy. Hopefully my campaign will help pave the way for that environment.”
Watch the Soften the F— Up campaign below: