Suicide prevention networks from around the region recently came together in Whyalla for a forum focused on the mental health support available for men living in rural communities.
Members from local groups such as the Whyalla Suicide Prevention Network, men’s mental health group I’m Not Afraid to Talk, the University of South Australia Department of Rural Health, and the Whyalla Men’s Shed gave presentations to a healthy crowd at the Whyalla Golf and Bowling Club.
WSPN member Lee Martinez said the forum highlighted the need for men’s mental health to be discussed more often in rural communities.
“There’s a lot of hesitation from men to talk actually talk about themselves and their feelings,” she said.
“We’ve heard from a number of men from regional communities about how they find it difficult to talk about their feelings and how much better they feel when they do share that information.
“Seeing men get up and talk about mental health can show other men that it’s not that scary to share their story.”
Each organisation gave a unique presentation, focusing on different groups of men.
Bob Clifford from Mates in Construction talked about the mental health of men working in the construction industry, while Jeremy Edwards from INATT gave a presentation focused on sportsmen and the issues they face in talking about their mental health.
“There was a strong theme of sporting clubs being a community where a lot of men do gather. It’s a good environment to provide some mental health support,” Ms Martinez said.
The networking event also included some stand-up comedy coordinated by David Granirer from Stand Up For Mental Health. David, who was in Vancouver at the time, was skyped in to help run the performance.
“It’s an avenue where people can share their story in a lighthearted way,” Ms Martinez said.
Ms Martinez thanked the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist for working with the WSPN to put the event together.