Men’s Sheds | Improving Wellbeing of Men Across Our Region

By Rachel Hardy

Men’s Sheds | Improving Wellbeing of Men Across Our Region

Life has been turned upside down by COVID-19 and many Aussies are feeling the strain.

During Men’s Health Week beyond blue urges all men to take stock of their health which includes their mental health. Sometimes men don’t like to talk about their feelings which is why I feel it is so important to raise awareness to a website I was privileged to be at the launch of in June 2013 in Parliament House, Man Therapy – A Man’s World. Man Therapy is an interactive mental health campaign targeting working-age men that employs humour to cut through the stigma and tackle issues like depression, divorce and anxiety. I was so impressed with the passion of the presenter’s yet at the same time very alarmed at the suicide statistics in Australia. One in eight men will experience depression in their lifetime and over 40 men take their lives every week in Australia.

The Australian Men’s Shed Association is funded by the Federal Department of Health to provide practical support to Men’s Sheds and deliver a wide range of services. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of members and reduce the number of men who are at risk of preventable health issues that may stem from isolation. A most satisfying part of my job is to assist the Men’s sheds in our electorate of Flynn with securing funding for these sheds. We have 19 Men’s sheds in Flynn.

I have visited most of these shed’s across Flynn and I must say I always get a little jealous that we don’t have Women’s Sheds. The comradery and mateship expressed in these sheds surpass anything I have ever experienced. Young, old and of all nationalities and walks of life they come together. Meeting normally once a week on a Tuesday to swap stories, make really cool stuff for the markets and eat yummy morning teas, these groups are the often the support needed by “blokes”. Gone are the days where Men think they have to suffer in silence.

As mothers, wives, partners or family and friends, it is always hard to see that our loved ones are struggling with emotions and day to day living. We are as a community are slowly braking down the stigma that is it ok to feel sad and to need help. A bloke is also a man with a heart that sometimes hurts and that is ok.

A simple R U OK? Is often all that is needed.