Councils in Queensland and NSW have come out in support of men’s health and backed their words with two new events for International men’s Day.
The Bundaberg Regional Council is running an inaugural Walk and Talk event on Thursday, 17 November in support of men’s health.
They have partnered with Peirson Services, with the goal of raising awareness about mental health and promoting ways for people to support their wellbeing, such as fostering social connection.
With this in mind, they are embracing this year’s theme: Celebrating Mateship.
“A walk with someone is a great way to hold a conversation. It’s casual and informal and is much easier not having to maintain eye contact,” Council Tracey McPhee told Bundaberg Now.
“A walk, particularly outdoors, is great for our mental health in so many ways.
“Getting your blood pumping produces endorphins and dopamine, both these hormones positively affect your mood.
“Vitamin D from the sun boosts your immune function, getting back to nature is great for the soul and having a chat with a mate and connecting is vital for good mental health.”
Councillor McPhee said her father had struggled with mental health issues for years, and she hoped others would look out for people who might be suffering.
“The people in your life need you around,” she said. “If you are struggling with thoughts like this, please reach out. There is so much help available.
“Call a mate, go for a coffee. Call a support service if it’s easier to talk to someone you don’t know. There are even text message services these days.
“Wherever you are at, there is help available.”
In NSW, Maitland is also joining the conversation about men’s issues as they celebrate International Men’s Day at East Maitland library on Friday 18 November.
The event hopes to inspire more men to #MateTime4Mates, with prominent figures joining from across the Hunter Valley at a buffet breakfast with panel discussion, special story time for fathers, and a trade display of support services for men.
Mayor Philip Penfold said the city wanted to improve male health and wellbeing through having important conversations about issues faced by boys and men in the region.
“The aim of this year’s International Men’s Day is to inspire men to make time for their mates, and it’s an opportunity for the community to come together to have those important conversations,” Mayor Penfold said.
“We want to highlight our local male role models, celebrate the diversity of men, and acknowledge the contribution of men to our community and our society.
“Our event at East Maitland Library will tap into this year’s theme of celebrating mateship. We know that Australian blokes love their mates, and this day will provide the tools to strengthen and improve those social connections.”
The panel discussion features Dr Myles Young from University of Newcastle, Peter Lewis formerly of the Newcastle Herald, and Rob Hoile, Project Manager for Parents Beyond Break Up to stimulate important conversations in the community.
“Conversation around men’s health is becoming more commonplace in society, but there is still a lot of work to do and we want to help give men the tools to help and celebrate one another,” Rob Hoile said.
Maitland will also be launching Peers Walk, a new suicide prevention program from Parents Beyond Break Up that aims to reduce the shocking rates of suicide among men and provide an avenue to share experiences in a healthy way.
In the Northern Territory, the City of Palmerston has been a long-time supporter of International Men's Day. This year the Council are hosting a free breakfast at the Palmerston Recreation Centre where there will be a range of activities including free hair cuts, free guitar lessons and an opportunity to brush up on basketball skills.