A graffiti mural of Australia’s comedy duo, Hamish Blake and Andy Lee, has sprung up overnight in Melbourne’s iconic Hosier Lane in celebration of MAYEIGHT!! – the date to catch up with a mate.
The artwork, which was created by street artist Ling and took 17 hours to complete, was commissioned by men’s health charity the Movember Foundation to celebrate the launch of their fourth annual MAYEIGHT!! (May 8, maaaate) campaign.
MAYEIGHT!! encourages Aussie men to use the date to catch up with a mate in order to tackle social isolation and improve mental health among men.
This year Movember is urging guys to take their mateship to the next level, with these three simple steps: Step Up. Catch Up. Speak Up.
A Movember Foundation spokesperson said: “We chose to celebrate Hamish & Andy this MAYEIGHT!! as two of Australia’s most iconic mates.
“Their mateship that has endured the public spotlight for more than 16 years, they’ve been there for each other through thick and thin and are obviously very comfortable and open in their mateship – not all mates could hang out with their Pants-Off every Friday.
“This is the kind of mateship we’d encourage all guys to nurture, and they can start this May 8 with a simple conversation.”
Ling said: “I’ve had mates that have gone through tough times and I’m becoming increasingly aware of being mindful of that.
“Often times when I’ve had mates go through tough times, they just haven’t had the confidence to bring it up themselves.
“For me, it’s about just checking in and having those open conversations.
“It’s often just that the right conversation hasn’t been had or the right question hasn’t been asked.”
Ling continued: “This is very much an issue in the creative space, something which I’ve seen amongst much of the community.
“They go through a tough time and they don’t reach out. Basically, if you think they’re a little off, take the time to actually ask if they’re doing okay and check in with them.”
The Movember research study
The study, which coincides with the launch of the Movember Foundation’s fourth annual MAYEIGHT!!
campaign, also revealed around half of the 500 men surveyed wanted to spend more time with their current mates, while one third said they hadn’t made any new close mates in the past two years.
Movember Foundation global director of mental health & suicide prevention, Brendan Maher said: “It’s not just older men who are at risk of becoming socially isolated or lonely.
“Even young men – who on the surface may appear to be more connected – can struggle to maintain relationships with their mates.”
By encouraging blokes to take part in an official day of mateship on Wednesday, May 8, Movember’s
MAYEIGHT!! campaign aims to tackle social isolation and improve mental health among Aussie men.
Maher added: “There’s a high chance you have a mate who is feeling lonely or isolated but isn’t letting on that he’s struggling.
“This May 8, we’re urging men to step up, put some solid plans in the diary and set themselves the challenge of talking about the stuff that really matters with a mate.
“It’s a great excuse to reconnect with an old mate and can work wonders to strengthen your friendship with a potential new mate.”
The study also highlighted that men most needed the support of their mates while going through a mental or physical health issue (27 per cent).
This was followed by major life changes like the breakdown of a relationship (21 per cent), losing a loved one (9 per cent), losing their job (8 per cent) or becoming a dad (6 per cent).
Men aged 25-44 were most likely to need support from their mates during a breakup.
Maher explained: “Pressure points in men’s lives can have a flow-on effect to their social lives.
“This can include big changes like going through a breakup or becoming a dad, where you shoulder more family responsibilities and have less time for your mates.
“Going through these changes can be tough for guys, particularly as they tend to bond and connect over shared experiences and activities such as watching a sports match or going to a gig.”
Maher continued: “Making time for these ‘shoulder to shoulder’ activities is crucial, not just on May 8 but year-round.
“Taking part in an activity with a mate, rather than a ‘face to face’ catch up allows guys to feel more
comfortable, meaning they’re more likely to open up and have a meaningful conversation.”
In addition, the research found 37 per cent of men would turn to their partner if they were going through a
tough time, while around 26 per cent would rely on a mate and 15 per cent would turn to a family member.
Men were also more likely to rely on a partner as they got older, with 50 per cent of men aged 35-44 nominating their partner as their main support.
Maher said that while partners were often a reliable source of support, it was vital that men establish support networks outside of their relationship – particularly when life events like divorce, relationship breakdown or the loss of a loved one had the potential to leave them socially isolated.