Katanning Men’s Shed welcomes funding for Regional Men’s Health Initiative

Saskia AdystiGreat Southern Herald
Katanning Men Shed members
Camera IconKatanning Men Shed members Credit: Saskia Adysti

Katanning Men’s Shed president Peter Jolly is thrilled to hear about the State Government funding for Regional Men’s Health Initiative to address the alarming rate of male suicide in regional and remote farming communities.

As a prominent member of the Men’s Shed organisation, Mr. Jolly said he understood the importance of mental health and wellbeing education for men in regional areas.

“Men are the worst when it comes to discussing health,” he said. “They don’t want to go to the doctors and act as if they’ll be OK — and by that time it will be too late to go to the doctors.”

The Katanning Men’s Shed branch was formed in 2010 to encourage males from surrounding regional communities to come together to talk, learn, share and create.

“It’s men talking to other men so you can bounce your ideas together and get advice — and it’s a really good environment for the guys to get together,” Mr. Jolly said.

Men’s Shed has played a big role in regional men’s health over the years. It provides a safe avenue for men to share with their mates and develop a strong sense of belonging.

“That is initially how Men’s Shed organisation started off — it’s actually the initiative of the health department — they’re the one who pushed for it because of the male suicide rates,” Mr Jolly said.

“Especially in the country — there’s a huge suicide rate and depression.”

However there has been an increased level of misconception in town, according to Katanning Men’s Shed treasurer Ross Thomas.

He said many people were under the impression that Men’s Shed meetings were filled with booze and drunken misconduct.

“Our shed is alcohol and smoke free to reinforce the health aspect of the organisation,” Mr Thomas said.

He said the real meetings mainly involved wood or metal work as their members enjoy repairing old machinery or even refurbishing old computers.

“I think our crowning achievement is the Piesse display that we did for the Katanning Horticultural Society,” Mr Thomas said.

Frederick Piesse built the display in 1906 for the Perth Royal show. Men’s Shed members then use the black and white photo to make the replica which is also going to be used in this year’s Royal Show.

The Men’s Shed has more than 170,000 members around Australia. For further information on Katanning Men’s Shed contact Mr Thomas 0457 965 839.

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