Associate Professor Barry Golding, School of Education, University of Ballarat in his keynote address to Western Australian first Men’s Shed Conference (3rd September 2009) said:
- One third of adult men are not in work.
- Half of Australians in poor health are out of the labour force.
- Men on average die earlier.
- Older men experience a wide range of potentially fatal health issues that are less likely to be detected or treated.
- Men are often subject to undiagnosed depression and potentiality to suicide.
- Lower level vocational education and training is ineffective in returning most people to work.
- Men are missing or excluded from much adult and community education.
- Men’s health and wellbeing are not good.
- Grand/fatherhood is important to men and enhanced by learning.
- Men need a third place (other than work and home) to socialize, feel at home with other men and share their knowledge and skills.
- Many services in adult education, welfare, aged care and health are mainly for women.
- Older men generously share wisdom, skill and experience – given the opportunity.
Most men have learned from our culture that they don’t talk about feelings and emotions. There has been little encouragement for men to take an interest in their own health and well-being. Unlike women, most men are reluctant to talk about their emotions and that means that they usually don’t ask for help. Probably because of this many men are less healthy than women, they drink more, take more risks and they suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression. Relationship breakdown, retrenchment or early retirement from a job, loss of children following divorce, physical or mental illness are just some of the problems that men find it hard to deal with on their own.
Because men don’t make a fuss about their problems, these problems have consistently been either ignored or swept under the mat by both our health system and our modern society.
How does JMS tackle these issues?
The Joondalup Men’s Shed is one of the most powerful tools in the community for helping men to once again become valued and valuable members of our community.
We recognise that good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive and valuable to your community, connecting to friends and maintaining an active body and an active mind.
We provide shedders with that safe and busy environment where they can find many of these things in an atmosphere of old-fashioned mateship.
Our shedders come from all walks of life – the bond that unites them is that they are men with time on their hands and they would like something meaningful to do with that time.
The JMS is overseen by the JMS Executive Committee which includes a Shed Organiser, Shed Supervisors and various committee members are all volunteers with both the technical and social skills to develop a safe and happy environment where men are welcome to work a project of their choice in their own time and where the only ‘must’ is to observe safe working practices.
Our focus is to develop a true spirit of good old fashioned Aussie mateship! Most importantly, there is no pressure and no compulsion. Men can just come and have a yarn and a cuppa if that is all they’re looking for.