New men’s shed caters to diverse community

Local initiatives to tackle men’s health succeeds in promoting diverse services 

Written by Saúl A. Zavarce

A new community initiative brings fresh ways to address men’s health issues.

The Australian Men’s Shed Association is the largest association in Australia focussed on male health and well-being.

Gregg Wilson, men's shed member painting

Gregg Wilson, men’s shed member painting

The organisation’s size has doubled  in four years with 720 sheds and 50 000 members Australia wide.

Men’s Sheds provide a place for men of all walks of life to join a community to make friends, work on crafts and contribute to their community.

Bentmoor Community Men’s Shed has taken a broad approach to the projects available.

Projects range from woodwork, metal work, model making and visual arts.

Founding member Bert Dyt says some sheds have a tendency to be a wood working club/cliquey but their  aim has always been to be multi-faceted.

Mr Dyt says that as the men’s shed grows in the community, men’s mental health will grow in importance.

“We do have a few guys who have issues, and that’s what we want, that’s what it’s for,” says Mr Dyt.

Men face unique problems to their health as they age.

Suicide rates for men are over three and a half times the rate for women and substance abuse is twice a high in men than women.

The rate grows as men age, the rate of suicide for men over the age of 65 is larger than in teenage men.

Suicide rates by gender per 100 000

Suicide rates by gender per 100 000

Depression is a high risk factor for suicide accounting for 80% of suicides.

Men’s Sheds tackle these problems by focusing on mateship in the workshops.

Many of the crafts created are sold to local schools to aid their disability programs.

“The aim is to, you know [help] the guys in the community, that don’t have much, guys that are lonely, guys that have disabilities, guys that have depression, all that stuff, that there’s the target market really,” says Mr Dyt

The Bentmoor Community Men’s Shed is due to host the Victorian Men’s Shed Association Conference in July with a new book on sale about the movement of Men’s Sheds in Australia.


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About Saúl A. Zavarce

Venezuelan-Australian journalist and international relations academic.

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