Inside Ray Martin’s Brave Battle

How mates and loved ones are getting him through.

Ray Martin is on a mission. The veteran journalist has thrown his support behind a push to provide boys and men the services needed to combat mental illness, in the hope it will give his 5-year-old grandson, Arlo, the best life possible.

“I look at [Arlo] and wonder what life will throw at him,” Ray, 77, admits in a personal essay to promote ‘Movember’, the campaign that supports awareness for mental health and prostate and testicular cancer.

“We’ve come a long way in a couple of generations, and for the better. I’ve certainly seen the positive changes around me.

“It might not be easy, but it’s undeniably healthy: admitting, accepting and sharing,” Ray wrote in the open letter to the Herald Sun to support Movember and change “tired notions of masculinity”.

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Married to wife Dianne for more than 50 years, Ray is dad to daughter Jenna, Arlo’s mum, and son Luke, who has an 8-month-old daughter, Harper. The dedicated family man sees little Arlo almost every day.

These days, everywhere Ray looks he finds evidence of just how far society has come – from news stories to books about physical, sexual or mental issues. He finds the shift in men’s values and priorities inspiring.

“In recent years, I’ve had male mates open up about everything from booze problems to work stress to domestic violence,” the former A Current Affair host says.

“I’ve heard them reveal every mental illness from depression to anorexia. I’ve seen men agonise over the failure of marriages and I’ve seen other men who finally felt strong enough to declare their homosexuality, and walk away from years of secrets and lies.

Free at last.

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“I suspect more younger blokes are also – figuratively speaking – ducking down to the ‘Men’s Sheds’, seeking counsel and comfort from their male mates.

“Or signing up for fundraisers like Movember, growing a ‘mo’, using their face to spread the word about men’s health and raising some serious money for research into things we all care about like men’s cancers and mental health.

“Today’s blokes aren’t running away from problems, but proudly putting them front and centre.”

Ray believes if we all pull together to make the world a better place for Arlo and his generation, then we can reduce suicide, which claims one man’s life every minute of every day globally.

“When I want to feel true pride about where blokes have come and where they’re going, I just look at my grandson, who is funny and wise and kind, and I feel confident about the future.”

To support Movember, visit au.movember.com/donate

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