Health

Cars offer hope for blokes

AMALINA LAVOCAH AND KARINA VAKIL

With suicide being the leading cause of death for men under the age of 45, blokes around Perth are using their cars as a way to deal with mental illnesses.

Ralph Wong started driving and fixing up his car with other members of Cars For Hope Perth a year ago to help him deal with his depression and anxiety.

“Mental Illness, like depression and anxiety, is something I don’t have control over,” Mr Wong said.

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Maaz Zairaf with his car. Photo: Amalia Lavocah

“When I am behind the wheel of my car I know I am responsible for my direction and how I control the vehicle and for that moment a sense of hope is restored because I feel like I am finally in control.”

Maaz Zairaf learned about using cars as a form of therapy when he visited Sydney three years ago.

He has been participating in Cars for Hope events around Perth ever since.

“Everyone deals with depression and anxiety differently,” Mr Zairaf said.

“To meet other people who not only love automobiles as much as I do but who also know what going through depression and anxiety is like, it helps create a safe haven for me to talk about my problems.”

Cars for Hope meeting at Kalamunda. Photo: Amalia Lavocah

Practising psychologist Chrystal Richardson said men were often conditioned from a young age to suppress emotions instead of handling them.

“Being around other individuals who have similar passions, and can explore a wide variety of different second-hand cars, it gives them a way to talk about their feelings,” Dr Richardson said.

“It can make it easier for men to express their emotions and be vulnerable when it is in a more masculine setting, in this case in an environment where they are surrounded by other car enthusiasts.”

 

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