Hedland Men’s Shed tackle mental health

Danielle RaffaeleNorth West Telegraph
Hedland Men's Shed treasurer Nygell Topp, co-chair Sam Arif and member Leith Anderson
Camera IconHedland Men's Shed treasurer Nygell Topp, co-chair Sam Arif and member Leith Anderson

Hedland Men’s Shed is set to launch the first round of it’s stigma smashing mental first aid programming this year after COVID-19 put a stop to club events in 2020.

For several years the health advocates have been operating in South Hedland and, with a new facility set to open, are ready to share their passion for wellbeing with the community.

Activities run by the organisation focus on building resilience and learning new skills and are open to both men and women.

The mental first aid courses will help people learn the vital skills of communicating with someone who may be experiencing mental health challenges or are facing a life-threatening mental health emergency.

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HMS treasurer Nygell Topp said starting mental health conversations and smashing the stigma was vital to community wellbeing.

“It’s all about starting a conversation and how to talk to someone who you think would benefit from a conversation around mental health issues whether they be depression, anxiety, substance abuse,” he said.

“It certainly doesn’t teach (people) to become a clinician, it’s about recognising regular signs and symptoms like a first aid course does.

“We want to look at health promotion for men and keeping the community healthy as well.

“If the individual is health then the community is healthy.”

Mr Topp said he hoped the group could send the message that mental health struggles were more common than people thought.

“First aid generally doesn’t carry a stigma with it. What a lot of people don’t realise is that one in five Australian’s will have a diagnosable mental health issue in their lifetime, that’s 20 per cent of our population - it’s far more common than people realise.”

The mental health first aid courses are expected to run February 20-21 and March 1-2.

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