darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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November 1, 2012

beyondblue is working closely with Men’s Sheds to promote awareness of depression and anxiety with The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester supporting the initiative.

The initiative has seen beyondblue develop a Men’s Shed Kit which contains information about the signs and symptoms of depression, real-life stories from men from regional Australia on their experiences with the disease and detailed information on how and where to seek support.

beyondblue has also developed Depression Awareness Training for Men’s Shed co-ordinators to increase their confidence in approaching someone about whom they may be concerned.

This week in Canberra Mr Chester attended the Men’s Shed Blokes BBQ and discussed the relationship between Men’s Sheds and the organisation with beyondblue Chairman and former Premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett. Mr Kennett has been actively involved in the organisation for over a decade.

Mr Chester is a regular visitor to Men’s Sheds in Gippsland and said beyondblue’s support was a valuable addition to an already successful program.

“Men’s Sheds have proven to be a valuable asset to many communities in Gippsland with men from all walks of life involved in the program and staying engaged in their local community,” Mr Chester said.

“beyondblue’s support for the Men’s Shed program helps to expand the knowledge and capacity of co-ordinators to deal with mental health issues.

“Given the reluctance of some men to access services in time of need, the initiative also builds on the work of local community health providers who are using the program to better interact with men on health-related issues.”

Mr Chester said depression affected around four per cent of the population and the efforts of the Men’s Shed program and organisations like beyondblue should be extended throughout the community.

“We need to keep talking about mental health issues and the services that are available to assist anyone in need in our communities,” Mr Chester said.

“There has been progress which has led toward a greater recognition that we need to provide better support on an individual basis but too often those affected are unaware of the support that is available locally and how to access those services.”

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