How $5000 could save lives in small Coast town
TWICE a week, a group of blokes from a small Fraser Coast town sit around and chat about their lives.
There’s nothing formal about it and there’s no pressure to share but the men, aged in their 60s, 70s and 80s, take the chance to open up.
Before joining the Glenwood Men’s Shed, some of the men had never been open about their feelings or struggles.
While shed president David Legge said the informal discussions had made a real difference in the men’s lives, there was a desire to make some members better equipped to deal with mental and physical health concerns.
That’s why the group applied for a $5000 grant to pay for mental health first aid training and to buy a defibrillator.
They were approved for the funding under the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s Community Grants Program.
Mr Legge said the mental health training would help members identify concerning behaviour or thoughts.
“In our age group, mental health is important because people can get dementia,” he said.
“It’s also important we identify blokes who are having suicidal thoughts and help them before it goes too far.”
According to Mr Legge, the group helps them realise they’re not alone.
Mr Legge has led the Men’s Shed since it started about 12 months ago.
Without a permanent headquarters to move into just yet, the group hasn’t started up the formal activities other sheds are known for, like woodworking and furniture repair.
That hadn’t stopped between 15 and 20 men from gathering every Tuesday and Saturday morning, Mr Legge said.
“Some of the blokes I know would never normally stand up and talk about their problems and they’ve got up and done it,” he said.
“I’ve had a lot of blokes come to me and say this men’s shed is the best thing that’s happened to them in a long time.”
If this story has caused issues for you, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.