Being a single mum isn't easy, especially when you're trying to raise an emotionally intelligent teenage boy while also running a fashion empire like Pip Edwards.
The P.E Nation founder is mum to son Justice, 17, and has been working hard to mould him into a compassionate, respectful and resilient man since he was a little boy.
"I hold myself accountable to raising a modern man of the next generation," Edwards tells 9Honey Parenting.?
"As a mum, it's your duty to raise a well balanced, aware, connected individual, who is able to articulate how they feel, create a safe space for that, and encourage those conversations."
Talking about feelings and mental health is totally normal in Edwards' house, but across Australia thousands of men and boys still struggle to open up.
For decades they've been taught it's weak to be vulnerable or ask for help with mental health issues, leading to staggering rates of male depression, anxiety and suicide.
Over 40 per cent of Aussie males have experienced a mental health problem at some point in their lifetime and in 2022, men accounted for 75 per cent of deaths by suicide.
They're scary figures, especially for mums who know their own sons could one day become one of those statistics. It's why Edwards was determined to break the cycle with Justice.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, subscribe to our newsletter here.
"I know that these boys suffer silently," she says.
"I struggle with navigating [mental health] myself as an adult, let alone a teenager who's growing up and has to find out who they are, find their identity."
The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on young Aussies mentally, climate change and global conflicts make them anxious about their futures and social media has them in a chokehold.
It all puts a massive strain on their mental health and when boys and young men don't know how to speak about that or ask for help, the outcomes can be devastating.
That's why Edwards is teaming up with The Top Blokes Foundation to help raise mental health awareness for young boys, especially for mums.?
"Mothers play a very pivotal role and the biggest role a mother can play is to be absolutely present and nurture and encourage their emotional maturity," she says.
The 43-year-old was a "late bloomer" when it comes to mental health awareness and has worked hard to make sure Justice learned about it from a young age.
That meant being honest about her own feelings and struggles, modelling healthy attitudes to mental wellbeing and encouraging her son to do the same.
"I've had to lead by example, so for me, I've had to be super vulnerable," she says.
Being a single mum can be difficult, especially when you have a public profile and cop trolling and mum shaming from total strangers online.
Edwards used to struggle with self-doubt about the way she was raising Justice, especially because they didn't have the typical parent-child dynamic.
"At times, I didn't know if that was right or wrong," she says.?
"When he was really young, I was very honest about everything I've gone through, to the point where I questioned, 'Have I exposed him to too much?'"
Navigating the teen years can be tough too and she jokes that it's a good day when she gets a one-word answer out of her son instead of just a grunt.
But she also knows that if Justice ever was struggling, he would come to her and feel safe enough to open up and ask for whatever help he needed.
"I'm on a journey that allows him to talk, to say 'it's OK to feel the way you feel,'" she says.
"It's really awesome that we've come to a point where he is so open with me. That's one thing I'm proud of, that we are open and we have those conversations."
It helps that boys are also taught about mental health in school now, as well as through organisations like The Top Blokes Foundation, but the work really does start at home.
Participants wear a 10kg weighted vest across 50km in October to raise awareness and funds that go towards ensuring better mental health outcomes for young Aussie males.
WATCH: Calls for government to walk back on mental health subsidy slash?
The organisation supports young men and boys through education and mentoring and has already helped over 21,000 boys across the country, but there's still work to be done.
Edwards is proud to be a female ambassador for the challenge and encourages other mums to get involved and help normalise talking about mental health with their sons.
It's vital to teach boys this stuff while they're young so that they don't become victims of the "man up" mindset and suffer in silence.
"It's hard to get them to crack open and talk about it, but I think the best advice is to be vulnerable. We all have to be," she says.
That means opening up to our sons, modelling healthy attitudes to mental health and being honest about the way we feel so that they can too.
After all, helping boys and men express their emotions and tackle mental struggles in healthy ways will better the lives of everyone around them.
"I have the most well balanced, aware, sensitive, considerate, compassionate and empathetic child," Edwards says.?
"He's going to be the most amazing partner for the woman that falls in love with him."
Justice will pass on his emotional maturity to his own children and help ensure the next generation of Aussie men don't suffer in silence.
But kids are a long way off yet; the 17-year-old is currently heading into his final year of school before hopefully jetting off to college in the US.?
"To be honest, he's been my anchor and my North Star for 17 years, so it's going to be a whole other rebirth when he leaves," she says.
It's a big milestone and one Edwards isn't sure she's ready for just yet, but she takes comfort in knowing that she's raised him to be an emotionally mature and resilient young man.
Learn more about the Lift the Load challenge and register here.?
Property News: Countryside shack listed for around the same price as a new Ford Ranger...but there is a catch.