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As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, many men are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their family relationships intact. Financial pressures are creating immense stress in their personal lives, leading to emotional turmoil and, in some extreme cases may contribute to abuse or domestic violence. 

Davy Rowe, a mental and emotional wellbeing advocate and the creator of the EQ Wellness Centre, identifies this economic strain as one of the most pressing issues for men in his group work & men’s program. 

"In the past year, we've seen an influx of men struggling to maintain their relationships and family lives due to the stress of rising living costs,” Rowe explains. "This isn't just a few isolated cases—it's widespread, affecting many families, and it's heartbreaking." 

Rowe emphasises that men often grapple with connecting to their emotions, feeling overwhelmed by "living in their heads" and overlooking their emotional well-being.  

This disconnect, compounded by financial stress and societal pressures to conform to traditional masculine ideals, is exacerbating stress levels among men and straining their personal relationships. 

"Many men put themselves under immense pressure, on top of the burden of tight finances," Rowe says. "They feel the need to be the successful achiever, the provider, as well as the stable, calm emotional rock. It’s not healthy, and it’s impacting their interactions with partners and children.  

They come to us asking, 'What can I do? I don’t want to live this way.'" 

Statistics from the Victorian Department of Health reveal a stark reality: one in eight men will experience depression, and one in five will face anxiety at some point in their lives. Despite these numbers, men are far less likely than women to seek help or discuss their mental health concerns.  

This reluctance has tragic consequences—Australia sees 3,000 suicides each year, with men accounting for 75 percent of these deaths. This means we lose on average seven men every single day to suicide. 

Rowe believes by creating a safe, nonjudgmental space for men to be open and address how they are feeling alongside other trusted men, is the start of identifying past traumatic experiences, allowing men to uncover the root causes of their frustrations, depression and even anger, which of course helps to foster healthier relationships. 

"Providing an environment where men can have open, honest, and nonjudgmental conversations is key to start reducing any type of abuse or domestic violence," Rowe states. "By understanding and addressing past traumas, men can achieve significant emotional healing and break the cycle of anger and violence." 

To help men navigate these challenges, Rowe suggests five ways to improve personal and family relationships amidst financial and emotional strain: 

Emotional Support: Focus on seeking and providing emotional support. Understanding the root cause of stress and anxiety can help men move forward, strengthening bonds and fostering a supportive family environment.

Quality Time: Prioritising quality time with loved ones on a regular basis through low-cost or free fun activities, like family game nights or outdoor outings, can enhance relationships and provide a sense of joy.

Open Communication: Encouraging honest discussions about emotions & feelings as well as financial challenges with family members, as this builds trust and allows for collaborative problem-solving.

Shared Responsibilities: Divide household responsibilities more equitably. Sharing the load can alleviate stress and demonstrate a commitment to partnership and teamwork within the family.

Financial Planning Together: Involve family members in budgeting and financial planning. Teaching children about money management and working together towards financial goals can create a sense of unity and shared purpose 

Rowe underscores the importance of tailored psychological and mental health services for men, advocating for programs that allow men to explore and address their emotions in a supportive environment.

In response to these growing challenges, Rowe is launching an eight-week "Initiation" program on July 16th, providing men with a safe space to navigate their emotional landscape and foster healthier relationships amidst economic uncertainties. 

"Our goal is to provide men with a safe and nonjudgmental environment where they can openly express themselves and draw inspiration from one another," Rowe explains. "Through mutual support, men are empowered to unlock their full potential and chart a path towards a happier, more fulfilled life." 

Davy Rowe's personal journey equips him with the "real life experiences" to help others dealing with emotional trauma. After running a successful air conditioning business in Perth for 24 years, Rowe faced a crushing setback when a disputed payment, losing one million dollars forced him to close down his operations in 2017, resulting in the layoff of 38 employees. 

Struggling with burnout, anger, and a profound sense of failure, Rowe embarked on a transformative journey that redefined his life's purpose.  

Determined to channel his experiences into something meaningful, he established the EQ Wellness Centre, transforming his former air conditioning factory. 

Here, his mission is clear: to empower men to confront their vulnerabilities head-on and uncover the underlying causes of their self-limiting beliefs and behaviors

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