Mateship matters when it comes to men’s health

Australian men are undervaluing the importance of mateship and the benefit it can have on their mental health. Man Hug Week has been launched by the Gotcha4Life team in an effort to counteract this.

It may sound simplistic, but the physical act of a hug serves a far greater purpose than at first appearance.

“There’s a very real outcome behind the man hug initiative,” says Gareth Pike, who launched Gotcha4Life last year with media personality Gus Worland and businessman Mike Charter.

“If you can hug it out with your mates then you’re more likely to be open and honest with them and can permanently establish that line of communication with them.

“It helps reaffirm that you’ve got each other’s backs.”

Time for hugs

Man Hug Week was launched by Gareth and the team to highlight just how important mateship is.

The nationwide event runs from March 12–18, culminating with a weekend of fundraising, family-friendly activities and fun runs.

“Man Hug Week is more than destigmatising the man hug and emotional vulnerability, it’s about raising awareness and funds for male mental health – and having a ball while doing so,” Gareth says.

On Saturday, March 17, Gotcha4Life is hosting an outdoor cinema event in Sydney that will screen Aussie flick Paper Planes, co-written by Gus’ brother Steve.

“The event is family-friendly and will have food trucks, a fundraising auction and we’re also going to try our hands at getting the Guinness World Record for the most man hugs, which should be fun,” Gareth says.

“On the final day of Man Hug Week, the Gotcha4Life team will be partaking in the annual Cliff Side Fun Run. Aside from supporting Gotcha4Life, physical activity is crucial for mental health.”

If you can hug it out with your mates then you’re more likely to be open and honest with them.

Mates for life

The awareness week also encourages men around the country to establish a Gotcha4Life mate if they don’t already have one.

“A Gotcha4Life mate is basically one of your closest mates who you’ve determined is trustworthy, loyal and someone you feel comfortable opening up to about your mental state,” Gareth says.

“Our goal is that every Australian man will have a Gotcha4Life mate by 2022.

“This mate can look out for your mental wellbeing and vice versa and the aim is you organise regular catch ups to mentally check in with one another, regardless of how high or low you’re feeling.”

For more information about Gotcha4Life and Man Hug Week, visit

Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support line is 13 11 14.

Written by Charlotte Brundrett