In Australia, sheds are very popular, and I think there isn't a house without one in the backyard, either big or small. Our shed, a very unattractive metal structure, stores mainly my husband's tools, the lawnmower and other garden implements.
But, I didn't really want to talk about the common garden shed, but another type of shed that helps men get together, talk and share problems, work on a wooden project, share ideas, teach younger men, etc.
I first heard about Men's Sheds, when one of our Doctors asked me to look for an address online and pass it on to her elderly patient.
My curiosity was piqued and I decided to investigate what exactly was this "Men's Shed", and I was quite impressed with what I found out, and I thought this was such a worthwhile project!
As most of us know, men are not very good at opening up about their feelings and emotions or talking about health problems, which means they don't ask for help when they need it, when they are feeling low, isolated or sick.
Sometimes after retirement, or after a relationship breakup or death of their partner, men withdraw and suffer in isolation, and are driven to drink, suffer from depression and loneliness.
Here men from all walks of life, get together with a view to do something with their time, learn new skills like how to cook for themselves, computer skills, woodworking, share their life stories and problems, etc, and this helps men to feel valued and valuable members of our community.
|Photo taken from the internet - Men working with wood in a Men's shed|
A co-ordinator who has the technical and social skills is in charge of each Shed, and he just has to make sure he welcomes all men to work on a project in their own time under safe working practices. But men are also welcome to just come in and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and have a chat, if that is what they want to do.
There are over 400 Men's sheds across Australia, with over 100 in Western Australia.
There is also an online site with various articles on health matters, discussion boards, games and puzzles.
What do you think of this concept to get men together to talk about their problems?
Do you know if such an organization exists in your country?