FIGHTING STIGMA: Groups like the Stanthorpe and District Men's Shed are helping to do away with stigma surrounding mental health and men's health as part of the national Men's Health Week movement.
FIGHTING STIGMA: Groups like the Stanthorpe and District Men's Shed are helping to do away with stigma surrounding mental health and men's health as part of the national Men's Health Week movement. Matthew Purcell

Time for blokes to talk

STANTHORPE men are encouraging others to speak out and seek help this Men's Health Week (June 11-17).

Blokes are often seen as being pretty hopeless when it comes to staying on top of their physical and mental well-being but it needn't be that way.

Groups like the Stanthorpe and District Men's Shed are helping guys, often isolated in life and locale, to deal with such issues.

"The men's shed is not necessarily men coming to do handy craft things. One of the ideas when they established was for men to have contact with other men for whatever reason,” president Nev Adams said.

"Some of us are fortunate that we live our lives pretty easy but other people are not so fortunate. Here, we have a few guys who have had experiences in their lives and they're now less capable of dealing with life.”

With a variety of backgrounds and expertise, it all goes out the door when the guys get together.

"We all mix in happily. Everyone contributes - it's just how we are.

"We meet five days a week. It's been suggested we meet one or two nights too because some guys don't have anyone.

"Most guys here realise we're not just here to make kids' toys. It may not be in big letters that we look after your mental health but we are in subtle ways.”

CONNECTION: Wally Lancaster, from Granite Belt Fitness, says there's a genuine link between having a healthy body, healthy mind.
CONNECTION: Wally Lancaster, from Granite Belt Fitness, says there's a genuine link between having a healthy body, healthy mind. Contributed

Granite Belt Fitness owner Wally Lancaster said having a healthy body was key to a healthy mind.

"I deal in health all the time and see a connection between physical health and mental health,” Mr Lancaster said.

"When someone has stress-related problems - such as home, financial, work stress or general life problems - their motivation to exercise drops off. That depressive state tends to lead to a cascading effect.

"I think men are always more concealed and hold their feelings closer because they feel that's what they have to do.

"Our body is a machine, it's our mechanism to operate and the better the machine works the better the components work,” he said.

So book that health check-up or, if you're having a hard time, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

FAST FACTS

- Inactive men are 60 per cent more likely to suffer from depression than those who are active.

- Top three reasons for reduced lifespan in men is suicide, cardiovascular disease and vehicle crashes.

- Men on average die 4.4 years earlier than women.

- Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women.

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