Lengthening the shadow: Why we need to ask, "What's happening in your world?”

Insightful story of how a Kiwi bloke fought back from ill health and depression
Author: Dave Burt
Book Year: 2019
Publisher: Mary Egan Publishing, NZ
ISBN: 9780473465995
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Lengthening the shadow: Why we need to ask, "What's happening in your world?”

Kiwi author Dave Burt writes his account of the physical and emotional challenges that can come with reaching middle age. The story starts off with a 10-week fitness challenge, through which Dave begins to see links between his health and how complacency led him to become overweight, and his experience of depression that came after facing a series of health issues.

Dave hopes by talking about his experience he can encourage other men to focus on their mental wellbeing, especially those in the trades. His initial approach to his experience of depression was to keep it to himself, which stopped him getting the support he needed. Burt says “As blokes, we are particularly bad at talking about real stuff. I decided that I wanted to change that, and maybe it’s just we need the tools to be able to look out for our mates. I think that’s where having a phrase such as ‘What’s happening in your world?’ that could be like a password to let people know that they can be real with you – that you won’t judge them or try to fix them”.

This autobiography is better suited to men forty onwards. It highlights the importance of developing a realistic mindset about the ageing process and shows ways to maintain resilience through exercise, self-care and using available support networks. The main message for those who experience depression is that there is hope and things will get better.


Reviewed by Paul Hellesoe, mental health nurse and middle-aged man


Lengthening the shadow: Why we need to ask, "What's happening in your world?”

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in mental health and wellbeing topics.