A space for men to tinker with tools is helping to stem the incidence of male suicide says Mort Shearer, the former head of the Australian Men’s Shed Association, who gave a seminar at Southern Cross University’s Coffs Harbour campus in April.
Mort Shearer spoke on the topic ‘Observations and Learnings from Time Spent Volunteering in Men’s Sheds and Suicide Prevention’ at a Psychology Colloquium in the Coffs Harbour campus, with video links to Lecture Hall at the Lismore campus and at the Gold Coast campus.
Psychology Colloquia are research seminars delivered at the Coffs Harbour campus by visiting academics, University staff members and PhD students. Colloquia are free of charge and open to students, staff and the public.
“Men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder while doing other things,” said Mr Shearer who stepped down as the inaugural national president of the Australian Men’s Shed Association president in November. He is now the director of the Hastings Men’s Shed at Port Macquarie.
“The sheds are good for men because they offer activities and purpose in the company of other men.”
Mr Shearer said he believes men are culturally and traditionally compelled to be the breadwinner and provide for their families.
“Men also tend to get their social connections either from their work or from their female partner’s group. But if the family breaks up, their partner dies, or men retire or are made redundant, they often become isolated because men are not good social animals.
“Isolation very often leads to depression and mental health issues. And sometimes that leads to the slippery slope of suicide.”
(Source: Southern Cross University)