It was the 8th of March around 8am and my wife received the phone call.

A call from her dads’ partner.

As I was laying in bed still half asleep, Rachael was given the instruction to sit down.

He had some news he needed to share with her.

I can still remember her screams and as I write this, I can still feel my wife’s heart shattering.

I jumped up out of bed to comfort her. I didn’t know what had happened but I knew it wasn’t good.

When Rachael got off the phone she told me. Her father had taken his own life in the early hours of that morning.

My heart sank and I immediately started to feel ill and a very empty feeling came across me.

I didn’t know what to say or what to do so I just held Rachael. In fact, I still have these same feelings today and there are no words I can say that will take away what’s happened.

In the past 5 years I’ve lost 3 mates to suicide. And now my father in law.

Why are we losing so many men in this way?

I’ve asked that question over and over throughout the last few months, and I can see what I think contributes, at least some of the way, to this tragedy.

As men, we are told to be strong and hard. And that feeling your emotions are a sign of weakness. And don’t you dare show them, as other men will think you’re “weak”.

Just look at the ads on tv – to be a “man” you have to be “hard.” Tough, physical, aggressive, overly masculine, etc etc.

You’re the provider and the fixer and you’re meant to have all the answers.

Sure, there are some men who epitomise this and that’s great!

But I think we need to take a serious look at how we are portraying what it is to be a man. 

Where to from here…

Although nothing can be done to bring Rachael’s dad back, we’re committed to ensuring that other families don’t have to endure what we experienced, and that no other person reaches the point where taking their own life is the only option.

Rachael and I got help after our tragic loss this year, and we felt so much better for it.

Beyond professional help, our family and friends have been incredibly supportive, too.

It can be hard to see it in the moment, but there is always help available.

So to the guys out there, I know it’s hard to break through the ideal that we should be tough all the time. I know I’ve felt the pressure as the provider of my family to stay strong, at whatever cost.

But when that cost is your own health and happiness? Your life is worth so much more than the pressure society puts on you.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing challenges, you can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.