Caring men from Dubbo who want to help their mates to be happy and healthy are at the heart of the next phase of a new regional mental health strategy.
The Banksia Project is linking up with local faces as it prepares for next month’s launch of Growth Rooms.
The Growth Rooms will be a place for “groups of blokes” to meet up and discuss their challenges once a month in a safe environment, program director Jack Jones says.
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Community “champions” will become the room facilitators, with the organisation ensuring professional support is available with all programs, content and training prepared by health professionals.
At the weekend, 13 men took part in a free course at Dubbo to train and equip them for the role.
Mr Jones said there had been a huge response to the initiative, coming after the Banksia Project’s successful forum at Dubbo in October.
He praised the men who had come on board to be facilitators.
While there was a huge need for services that were there for a crisis, Growth Rooms focused on prevention, he said.
“What we’re trying to say is let’s not get there, let’s teach the community the skills to actually prevent that crisis,” he said.
“What we do again, rather than the Banksia Project facilitating these rooms and getting outside providers to come in, we actually teach the community to support one another.” Growth Rooms could be useful for people in a number of situations.
“It could be someone’s just feeling a bit stressed or uptight about a few things, or things are getting to them that they wouldn’t normally be uptight or stressed about,” Mr Jones said.
“It might just be they’re looking for a bit more social connection…
“They may have some mental health challenge history and they may have something they want to work through particularly, and it’s a great space for them to do so.
“They may want to learn how to be healthy and well and happy, and we give some really powerful skills that are actually tools for these blokes, so they can take them with them.”
Dubbo carpenter Bruno Efoti, who launched Tradies In Sight last year to help peers in the industry with mental health, was at the training to be a room facilitator.
“I think it’s important to be able to help blokes, or even get blokes together, give them a little bit of understanding and education… understanding the struggle and what to do, what signs to look for if they’re going through some hard times,” he said.
Interested people can find out more and register at The Banksia Project’s website.
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