“He’ll be right” – Gold Coast initiative flipping the script on men’s mental health

Whilst Australian mental health studies continue to find that men are at greatest risk of suicide, they’re also the least likely to seek help. Local Gold Coast resident Adam Flier wants to help break this cycle – one walk at a time.

May 31, 2024, updated May 31, 2024
The Gold Coast Men's Mental Health Walk in action.

The Gold Coast Men's Mental Health Walk in action.

The “she’ll be right” attitude has been a fixture of Australia for generations but the country’s growing mental health crisis has definitely outgrown this approach.

The mental health of Australians has been on a steady decline over the last decade. But the rising rates of loneliness, financial anxiety and societal instability have caused a worrying spike in the last few years.

Men still remain less likely to seek mental health services whilst also the most severely affected. The most recent data found that men account for the majority of suspected deaths by suicide on the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast resident Adam Flier knows the struggles of mental health first-hand.

“I was going through a very long dark mental health journey due to a marriage breakdown and being a DFV survivor,” The Gold Coast Walk N Talk founder revealed. “I found during my time there was nothing to support men…”

It was the culture of larrikinism and modesty within Australian men that made actively seeking help a challenge. “Men simply don’t talk,” he realised.

“It is in our Aussie DNA that we need a tough exterior and jam all the rubbish down deep inside our soul.”

In response to his experience, Adam founded The Gold Coast Men’s Walk and Talk to address the urgent need for mental health support for the men in his own community.

“Once I was of somewhat sound mind I created this and started walking. I remember thinking “Build it and they will come!” he shared.

While the first few weeks saw Adam walking alone, he wasn’t deterred: “I knew there was a massive need for this space also for us men.”

Five years on,  Walk and Talk has erupted into a major success. The group has since walked the equivalent of the Gold Coast to The Top end of Australia.

A reliable staple of Damian Leeding Park on weekend mornings, the group has attracted crowds of up to around 30 men and provided a vital safe and supportive environment for men.

“We are truly open to everyone that needs some connection,” said Adam.

“We have men from all walks of life, all different ages. We have a 70-year-old publican from Sydney’s King Cross to a young ex-con who was looking for some positive connection to the community so he would not re-offend.”

But as Adam explained: “The Gold Coast Men’s Walk and Talk is more than just a walking group; it’s a vital support network for men in the community.”

“The atmosphere is welcoming and non-judgmental, encouraging open dialogue about mental health and life challenges.”

“We do however pull up at the halfway point of our walk and discuss many different things from what brings us gratitude to our lives, how our weeks have been or if someone has something they feel they need to share.” 

“We listen non judgmentally,” Adam stressed.

Although each walk has no formal agenda, the group still has one rule: “Never walk alone”. No matter a participant’s pace or fitness level,  everyone always completes the walk alongside someone.

Adam considers the simplicity and consistency of this model the key to the group’s connection with the local community.

“A regular walk in the park ensures that it is easily accessible to all men, regardless of their fitness levels, socioeconomic status, or prior experience …” he said.

“This regularity helps build habits and ensures ongoing support … Even when the weather has its way with us we still meet and have awesome conversations and drink our coffee.”

Whilst Walk and Talk continues to find success, Adam has no intention of slowing down his passion for facilitating mental health support. “This is a starting point,” explained Adam. 

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Beyond attracting more participants from different demographics and continuing to raise awareness, Walk and Talk looks to enhance its services and deepen its community impact.

It’s the community that keeps Adam motivated to keep doing this crucial and complicated work. “Witnessing the positive impact on participants’ mental and emotional well-being drives the commitment to keep the initiative alive.”

“Mates helping mates and strangers helping relative strangers it blows my mind and is what gets me up every weekend.”

The initiative has joined City of Gold Coast’s growing Active and Healthy Program, alongside the likes of OneWave, Creative Therapy and Sound Healing, Laughter Yoga, and Walk and Talk for Wellness.

This city-wide program has been designed to provide the Gold Coast community with support and a sense of purpose through free and low-cost activities.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy