Thursday, 9 February 2023

Members statements

Men’s mental health

Men’s mental health

Tom McINTOSH (Eastern Victoria) (09:44): Mental health is an important issue in our community, and today I rise to highlight the fantastic grassroots work of eastern Victorian locals working towards better men’s mental health. Men’s mental health is something I am passionate about, but it has long been a taboo topic, particularly amongst men living regionally and working in male-dominated jobs.

I want to highlight the work of two groups of men who are doing great work in their own different ways. On the Mornington Peninsula young guns Nathan, Ben and Mason founded Speak & Share through one guiding philosophy: a problem shared is a problem halved. Speak & Share is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to begin the truly hard conversations associated with mental health and to combat the stigma that surrounds it. They do this by holding workshops at schools and sporting clubs designed to facilitate the tough conversations to encourage people to open up and to change the mindset that vulnerability is weakness. They also regularly hold community events such as fun runs with the aim of increasing connection within the community. Speak & Share’s very hip gear is a common sight on the peninsula, particularly amongst our younger residents, and it is encouraging to see so many people recognising the importance of mental health and the value in open and honest conversations.

There is also great work happening in the construction industry on worksites right across Eastern Victoria. Men working in construction are at a higher risk of suicide, and it is inspiring to see local blokes taking action in their own way. Recently I joined Caleb and Jeremy from Sayf on a construction site, which happened to be part of the fantastic Gippsland line upgrade, raising awareness of their simple act that lets family know how you are feeling on a daily basis. All these groups are working hard, keeping us heading in the direction of a stronger Victoria by connecting men to each other and services.