Shed more than tools and ban­ter

Albany Extra - - News - Michael Traill

Mate­ship, a safe space and “what wor­ries blokes”, were the themes at Nar­ro­gin’s Men’s Shed last week dur­ing na­tional Men’s Health Week.

The pur­pose-built fa­cil­ity, built by the mem­bers them­selves with the fi­nan­cial sup­port of the Nar­ro­gin com­mu­nity, pro­vides a haven of sup­port to those who seek it, en­hanc­ing and even pro­long­ing the lives of men who call it home.

Chair­man John McDougall said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was more than just the Mon­day morn­ing work­shops or Thurs­day cof­fee catchups.

“A man of char­ac­ter is the only thing needed to join us, you can’t join us with a ti­tle, you can’t be a white man, a black man, Mus­lim man, Chris­tian man, straight man or gay man, just a man of char­ac­ter,” he said.

“We look af­ter each other more than any­thing for some, we’re fam­ily, that’s what we do.

“If some­one goes miss­ing, we’ll find out what hap­pened to them.”

Mr McDougall said men­tal health could af­fect men of all ages, prompt­ing Nar­ro­gin’s Men’s Shed to open its doors to younger mem­bers.

“More and more young men are say­ing can we come up,” Mr McDougall said.

“A lot of them work but there’s no af­ter-life for them, they knock off at five o’clock, sit in their lit­tle flat and wait to go to work again.” Ac­cord­ing to Mr McDougall, a strong so­cial and sup­port net­works could com­bat the big­gest killer, si­lence. “When I was grow­ing up, the things you talk about in this shed, you’d never talk about in the bar or at the footy club,” he said. “It was taboo but the health is­sues you’d have weren’t the prob­lem; not talk­ing about it was.

“I know two young fel­las who took their own lives, be­cause they couldn’t front up to telling their mates they were se­ri­ously ill. Here we talk about it like it’s noth­ing.”

Projects com­pleted in the Men’s Shed are do­nated back into the com­mu­nity.

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