Help men to reach out

BUILDING FRIENDSHIPS: Graham Chapman, Roger Snell, David Bruce, Jeff Kerr, Peter Atkins and Peter Newnham chat. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIREMALE psychology can’t be ignored when trying to prevent suicide, according to the leader of a peer support coursebeing held in Albury this month.
Nanjing Night Net

“If a man’s in trouble and he goes to a service and he’s further humiliated, what’s that going to do for him?” Anthony Smith said.

“If they can’t see the possibility of support that’s appropriate to their needsthen, and we see this time and time again, men are isolating themselves.”

Mr Smith is a facilitator for Menswatch, a program run by non-profit group, the Australian Institute of Male Health and Studies.

The all-male sessions aim to help men learnnew knowledge and skills and gainconfidence in supporting other men.

“The simple truth about all of this is it’s adult men who make up the vast majority of all suicides,” he said.

“The last 10 years the (suicide) increase has been 42 per cent, so clearly the current approach is not working.”

Research has shown unemployment, financial difficulty, relationship breakdown and farming issues are among the contributing factors.

The Border Menswatch program comprises two evening sessions at The Albury Club, with a light barbecue held in the middle of each.

Peter Atkins, a board member of the club, said the sessions were open to men of all ages and locations.

Mr Atkins said Menswatch offered a way men could learn to help each other.

“Be equipped with skills and awareness in supporting men with personal issues, crisis, mental health problems and grief, that’s the idea of it,” he said.

“I think they gain support and friendship, they can talk openly, I think it’s a healthy male friendship, basically.”

Mr Smith said the nature of rural communities could help people reach out to men who werestruggling.

“You mightn’t feel comfortable yourself to address a bloke who you suspect might be in trouble, but you probably know some of his family or some of his friends,” he said. “See if you can get somebody else to go and speak to him.”

Menswatch: February 9 and 16, 6pm to 9pm at The Albury Club, 519 Kiewa Street. Tickets $10. To book, ring (02) 6021 2511.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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