Wagga Men’s Week to tackle mental health crisis | The Daily Advertiser


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A bunch of blokes will talk openly about the mental health crisis plaguing the region as part of Men’s Health Week later this month. The newly formed group Men Talking With Men will be running several events throughout the week, kicking off with a “men’s health toolbox meeting” at the Rules Club on June 16 from 9.30am. The meeting will feature speakers from the Australian Drug Foundation, Fathers Rights Australia, Riverina Melanoma Ride, and various medical institutions. The event is supported by Murrumbidgee Local Health District, GIO Wagga and Wagga City Council. IN OTHER NEWS: The following afternoon at 6.30pm there will be a fundraising movie at Forum 6 Cinemas which will be screening Backtrack Boys, a film about growing up as a troubled youth in rural Australia. Men Talking With Men founder Gary Witt said the film resonated with him, having come from a rural blue collar background himself. He said he’d worked alongside many young tradies from troubled backgrounds, many of whom managed to break the cycle of disadvantage and start healthy families of their own. Mr Witt said there was a chronic lack of mental health support services out in the bush, especially with the health system relying increasingly on telehealth to pick up the slack. The former tradie said rural residents often had patchy internet connections at best or no connection at worst, cutting them off entirely from remote support. However, even when in-person support was available, Mr Witt said he’d observed a general reluctance among men to reach out for help. “We do it differently in the country. Men are like an overgrown that’s got too much water and has a skin about that thick,” Mr Witt said. “The system fails them, and men are bad at communication in the first place.” Centacare regional manager for Wagga and surrounds Geoff McLean is partnering with Mr Witt for the men’s week. Mr McLean said Mr Witt may be “just a bloke” at the end of the day, but that he admired the grassroots effort to get more guys to open up. “Men in the past had to soldier on, get on with it, do it all about yourself. That’s what was historically seen as a strength, but it doesn’t work and it’s not sustainable,” Mr McLean said. “Here’s this guy from nowhere who’s rallied these people together to put on this event; that’s really cool. That ground-up approaches are very effective and they get the conversation going.” More details about the Wagga Men’s Health Week events can be found by calling Gary Witt on 0413 697 371. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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