R u OK Day. Dr Matthew Franz talks….

Getting a perspective on Mental Health + Anxiety – By your Melbourne Osteopath, Dr Matthew Franz at City Osteopathy

In light of R U OKAY Day, I though I would share a bit of a personal experience that may help others:

ANXIETY… it’s time we talk

“The unwanted guest party at the party.”

Before I begin to discuss this issue, I want to mention that I’m not trying to preach to the choir but rather open the dialogue about something. It’s something that as a male we aren’t very good at talking about or discussing. My intention is thus, to provide a personal perspective on this issue and how it can affect our overall health.

I like to describe anxiety, as the unwanted guest of the party. Just imagine you are having a party with all your friends and family and then an unwanted guest comes in. Someone who flips your tables, eats all your food and is just being annoying. At first you try to tell the guest to leave, you try locking them out and you spend all your time trying to force them out of the party. However, they tend to find a way back in and they continue to find a way to annoy and stress you out on a consistent basis. Finally, you feel like there is nothing you can do. This is how I describe anxiety.

For many, anxiety can take many different forms and experiences. In particular for men, we have a tendency to not speak up and hide away from it. This can lead us to gain even greater stress, on top of an already busy life for both women and men. The tendency to “push on” and not accept that we have to deal with it, is something that is prominent in today’s society.


A recent study by the ABS found anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, 1 in 4 people – 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men – will experience anxiety (1)

From an osteopathic perspective, anxiety can play a major role in influencing recovery from an injury. In relation to injuries and sport, it was found, that anxiety can lead to an increased risk of injury occurrence, delay and obstruct injury rehabilitation and the return to sport process.(2) This affects the way we feel and our tendency to do the sufficient rehab. It can also affect us getting better, which then plays a larger role in the way we feel about ourselves.

From personal experience, it was a coping mechanism that enables me to get the things that I need to stay on top of in my everyday life. I was only able to get a better understanding of what my anxiety was when I was able to accept that it is normal and to find ways to address it.

NORMALISING, is one small step in the process of understanding it and that takes time. The first step is to be comfortable with it. I believe in particular with males, this is the hardest part, it’s where we tend to put up our bravado up and not do anything about. One our society today, it is actually OKAY to have anxiety as part of your life.

“So what is next?”

A tip that is often spoken about, is talking to someone about it. This someone can often help and in the long run it does. Sometimes it may be a friend or family, or even a health professional, a stranger, who offers you a qualified perspective on what you are dealing with. Seeking the help that is needed to address your anxiety is the hardest hurdle to face but it’s also the best one. This then allows you to take a step back and address what is going on. It allows you to have that breathing space to control and manage your anxiety.

I hope my thoughts and new perspective helps those who are dealing with anxiety, like it did for me.

For those that would like further information there is some helpful resources at:





  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.
  2. Ford, J., Ildefonso, K., Jones, M., & Arvinen-Barrow, M. (2017). Sport-related anxiety: current insights. Open Access Journal Of Sports Medicine, Volume 8, 205-212. doi: 10.2147/oajsm.s125845