Australia’s largest men’s health platform, Pilot, is taking a bold step in calling out what it sees as a culture of words over action, which only serves to aggravate the inadequacies of mental health care in Australia.
And they’re starting with R U OK? Day.
For Wednesday and Thursday this week, Pilot has commissioned a billboard truck to drive around Sydney’s CBD, calling out the corporate culture of hosting R U OK? events without stepping up and giving men in need the right tools to take palpable action.
“No, we’re not OK”, the billboard reads.
“Every day Australia loses seven men to suicide. Keep your cupcakes, it’s time for action”.
Three in every four suicides in Australia are men, with the statistics only getting worse. We’ve come a long way as a society in the last decade with initiatives like R U OK? encouraging a much broader awareness of this very real issue.
But awareness can only go so far.
Pilot is supporting early intervention care by donating $10,000 to This is a Conversation Starter (TIACS)—an Australian telehealth service that offers free counselling and advice to men struggling to navigate the often confusing world of mental health care and treatment in Australia.
This equates to 111 hours of free professional telehealth care.
This is in addition to the $120,000 Pilot donated at the beginning of 2022, paying a salary for a full-time TIACS counsellor, equating to 1,400 hours of free counselling for Aussie men.
By shifting the focus from crisis support efforts like Lifeline and Beyond Blue to early intervention measures like TIACS, Pilot hopes to change the way we see men’s mental health in Australia as something that can be managed with great care and understanding at every stage.
It’s Pilot’s view that government funding could be better distributed than is the current case, with an increased investment in early intervention initiatives an ideal outcome.
Pilot co-founder and CEO Tim Doyle says: “The interest generated in the last decade by R U OK? Day has seen a significant improvement in the way our society views mental health, but unfortunately, the numbers show that it’s not changing the statistics.
“We’re all super ‘aware’, but getting that awareness to instigate meaningful and measurable action is a very different beast.
“Action is at the core of Pilot’s brand. We know we can’t fix this overnight, but by highlighting the importance of early intervention and also giving men a resource to guide them on a path to better mental health is a start.”
Pilot co-founder and GM Charlie Gearside added: “75 per cent of suicides in this country are men, but nobody has made measurable progress in offering a genuine solution.
“Partly because we all know that this is an extremely difficult topic with extreme consequences if mishandled. But we can’t just sit on our hands and order yellow cupcakes for the corporate morning tea once a year. Ads for brightly coloured baked goods are literally the first thing Google serves you when you search: “RUOK”.
“It’s very easy to pat ourselves on the back when we host an R U OK? event, and promoting a culture of awareness is fundamentally a good thing.
“But we’ve noticed that this annual display of platitudes hasn’t had a significant enough impact on reducing the rate of suicide amongst Aussie men.
“We’re not against R U OK? Day in principle, but we want it to be seen as just one element in a wider toolkit available to help men with emotional turmoil or mental anguish to get real help, get it sorted, and live happier, less anxious lives.”
Pilot is Australia’s largest men’s health platform, offering customised, clinically proven treatments for common men’s health issues including Hair Loss, Weight Management, Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation, Prescription Skincare, Sleep, and more.
Pilot hopes this campaign will highlight the importance of action following words, and doesn’t stand to make a profit from this media campaign.