On Friday 31 May we hosted our third annual Men’s Health Lunch, with 100 men from a range of occupations and backgrounds coming together to talk about the mental health and wellbeing issues men are facing in their everyday lives.
With attendees ranging from IT specialists to mechanics, accountants to directors, the event was a rare occasion to engage in this difficult but essential conversation.
The event focused on how men in business can often get caught up in the ‘busyness’ of life and the value in making time to stop, connect with friends, colleagues and family and talk about the real issues in life, specifically surrounding mental health and wellness.
The theme was timely, with new statistics from Turning Point and Monash University revealing that 6 men in Australia will take their lives each day, while another 82 men will receive ambulance attention due to suicidal thoughts or attempts.
There was considerable interest in the specific strategies that guest speakers Andy Knee and AFL legend and mental health crusader Wayne Schwass discussed as having in place in their own lives to manage wellbeing and mental health.
Wayne is a dedicated mental health advocate, and having battled silently with his own mental health for much of his sporting career, he is now committed to raising awareness about mental health, emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention through his own charity, Puka Up.
Wayne encouraged all who attended to talk openly and honestly about mental health, emotional well-being and suicide prevention without fear of judgment and to create an environment for those around them to do the same.
He spoke about how masculinity, gender conditioning and male stereotyping are having profoundly negative impacts on men across the country.
“I am passionately committed to the issues of suicide prevention, mental health, emotional wellbeing and normalising these important conversations. I absolutely believe in the value and benefits of creating authentic and genuine conversations about mental health, emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention and making them available to every person living in Australia," Wayne said.
The lunch was presented by MC Dave O’Neil, in partnership with Maroondah City Council and coincided with their annual Maroondah BizWeek event.
Special thanks must go to Rachel Hughes, Senior Program Officer Suicide Prevention at EMPHN, who has worked passionately on this annual event for the past two years, as well as to staff at Maroondah City Council whose hard work and prevision of resources were greatly appreciated.