Men's wellbeing was the focus of an information session held on Friday to gauge community support for opening a Men’s Shed in Port Hedland.
The Men’s Shed is a national movement which provides a place where local men can get together to work on projects like woodwork or metalwork and spend time socialising.
Regional Men’s Health Initiative community educator Owen Catto, who spoke at the meeting, said the Men’s Shed concept was to provide a point of contact for men from all backgrounds to talk about their issues.
“As blokes we’re all hardwired the same, the context may be different but we all communicate in the same way and the underlying fundamentals are the same across all blokes,” he said.
“We tend to tough it out, go into our cave, get asked three times if we’re okay then bulldust and say we are, when sometimes we aren’t.
“Any forum where we can get blokes together means you have a scenario that normalises talking about those problems we all have, and can help with men’s wellbeing.”
Town of Port Hedland community development officer Mark Davis said the purpose of the meeting was to assess community support and interest in starting a Men’s Shed in Hedland.
“There’s been a push, over the last year, to get a Men’s Shed going in the town, and while we know there’s a different age and population model here to what you would normally find in a town with a shed, we think it is an important service that the community will get behind,” he said.
A member of the Grenfell Men’s Shed in New South Wales, Denis Hughes, was in town on Friday and attended the meeting to share his experience of his town’s shed.
Mr Hughes said the main principle of the shed was to get away from problems like depression.
“It’s important for older people with no friends that might otherwise just sit at home, and for younger people that have their own problems and want to pick up some new skills or just have a chat,” he said.
“A lot of men … need somewhere to talk … and generally speaking they find their problems aren’t as big as they think.”