Gus Worland is a man on a mission to save Aussie blokes
GUS Worland likes being an Aussie bloke.
But he also likes being a man who can talk about his feelings, show affection to his friends and family and, even, cry.
In his new documentary series for the ABC, the Triple M radio host is on a mission to tackle a very taboo subject close to his heart: Australia's unacceptably high rate of male suicide.
"There are some very cool things about being a man and some wonderful things about being an Aussie man, but we need to have an opportunity in life to have someone you can talk to and say 'you know what? I don't know why but I'm really sad and I need you to help me with this'," he tells APN's The Guide.
"Why can't we have those discussions? We're so good at talking about sport, the weather, girlfriends, going to the pub, whatever it is, but we're bad at pulling someone aside and saying 'hey can you help me?' Showing vulnerability seems to be very hard for a lot of Aussie blokes."
In 2006, Gus lost one of his best mates, Angus, to suicide.
Angus was one of the 2000 men who take their own life in Australia every year.
Behind the larrikin facade, Australian men are lonelier and more disconnected than ever before. Men are less likely than women to seek help for these issues, and suicide is the leading cause of death for men aged 15 to 44, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and heart disease.
With his teenage son, Jack, on the edge of manhood, Worland is on a mission to see how certain men are redefining what it means to 'man up'.
Nothing is off-limits - from charting the rise of the man hug, to unique male bonding rituals and burgeoning fashion trends.
"The hardest thing to try to do was have that bit of lightness around a subject that is a very difficult one to deal with," Worland says.
"It's been such a taboo subject for so long. People talk about it in whispers and rightly so. It's something very, very personal but obviously now we need to start having these conversations. This show will hopefully be part of some of those."
Filming for the three-part series has transformed the way Worland's communicates with his son and he is even training to be a Lifeline counselor.
"It's not an easy conversation to start, but I prefer to be a slightly annoying dad at times and he knows I love him and am doing it for the right reasons rather than be the dad who doesn't ask the questions," he says.
"I just keep checking in on him I suppose. I won't accept 'I'm fine'. That's one lie us men are really good at telling."
Man Up airs Tuesdays at 8.30pm on ABC1.