The Australian Government and beyondblue have teamed up in an unconventional new mental health campaign called “Man Therapy” designed to battle depression and anxiety in Aussie men. Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler launched the humorous campaign alongside beyondblue Chairman Jeff Kennett, both of whom were overshadowed by the cult figure of Dr Brian Ironwood (the fictional character appointed to head up the campaign). He is a self-described “straight-talking, irreverent, man’s man” with a PhD in everything, whose character has been created to host the Man Therapy website http://mantherapy.org.au/ and urge Australian men to take charge of their mental health. The site is very funny and well worth a look.
Our first ‘Talking It Up” event at the Fitzroy Motorboat Club was held on the Wednesday 20th March, the night was successful and we had an attendance of 36 community members who enjoyed a meal and dessert listening to some entertaining speakers as well as participating in the “Pit Stop” Health Checks.
The Ozcare Mental Health Disaster Recovery Program in partnership with other local services and agencies will be holding two (2) more “Talking It Up.” Events in the coming months (April/May)
The idea of the evenings are to provide men with information on what is stress and how to deal with stress.
We also have a Guest Speaker providing an inspirational or motivational story to the group.
Additionally, men and their partners will also have access to brief health checks (Pit Stops).
Please see attached flyer, feel free to forward to interested people or put up where people can see it.
To register please contact the number on the flyer as the Events are being catered for.
Allied Health Worker – Mental Health Program
p (07) 4937 4249
The PCYC (North Rockhampton) will be holding a ‘show of interest’ meeting to start a Men’s Shed at the PCYC. The meeting will be held at PCYC on Wednesday 20th March at 9:30am, with a light morning tea.
The purpose of the meeting is to:
Progress the idea and get people involved
An ideal forum for the project to start and gain momentum
Identify potential needs of the community
All inquiries can be directed to Sergeant Greg Jones, Branch Manager. Phone: 0414360027 or 49277899 Email: email@example.com
Police-Citizens Youth Clubs QLD
North Rockhampton Q 4701
Ph 07 49 277 899
Fax 07 49 223 998
Re: Men’s Advisory Network e-newsletter 117
Welcome to the November 2012 MAN newsletter. We’re trying a different approach this time, providing the newsletter as a PDF. Just click the link below: depending on your settings you will get a dialog box asking you whether you want to open the PDF straight away or download it to read later.
Please check out our new Facebook page – Mens Advisory, click Like to register your interest and have a look at our ManDay Monday challenge for International Men’s Day on 19th November.
Your comments on our new format are most welcome!
Health tips for Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) workers
Posted: 13 Nov 2012 09:02 PM PST
Assoc. Prof. Gary Misan, Ms Chloe Oesterbroek, Centre for Rural Health and Community Development, UniSA
There is no doubt that long swings, twelve hour shifts, long hours sitting in front of computer terminals or driving machinery, as much as you can eat and drink laid out free all day every day in the mess halls, disturbed sleep patterns from shift work and feeling too tired or that there is no time to exercise make it difficult for FIFO workers to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. However, there are some things you can do to lessen the load and stay fit and healthy (Scott 2000).
First and foremost, stop smoking. If you can’t do it on your own then get some help, there is no excuse these days. Second, limit your alcohol intake; that means a couple of cans of light beer at most per day, and have a couple of alcohol free days each week. Next, eat less and exercise more, a simple prescription, although no magic pill.
With such a large selection of food available at the mess hall and cheap grog at the wet mess it becomes easy to fall into poor eating and drinking habits. As far as the mess goes, don’t be tempted to have a bit of everything on offer, rather decide on a moderate size meal each day and mix it up a bit so you keep things interesting. A balanced diet with foods from a variety of food groups and everything in moderation is recommended. If you eat half a cow and a sack of potatoes after every shift, you are obviously going to have a problem maintaining a healthy weight. Use the 50:25:25 rule; fill half (50%) the plate with salad and vegetables, a quarter (25%) with protein such as meat or cheese and a quarter (25%) with carbohydrates such as breads, pasta or potatoes (Ranford et al. 2012). Avoid creamy sauces or food that is fried.
For your main meals watch your portion sizes and make mostly healthy choices. Don’t try to stack your plate more than the next guy at the table and avoid going back for seconds. Have muesli or porridge for breakfast most days rather than popular breakfast cereals which are very high in sugar. Wholemeal bread makes great toast and have some fruit or fruit juice to round it off. Limit the ‘big breakfast ’ to once or twice a week at most. For other meals, limit red meat to 2 – 3 times a week and keep the portion sizes to 200-300 grams. Squeeze in a couple of chicken and fish meals each week (preferably not fried). Eat plenty of fruit, salad and vegetables and minimise your alcohol intake as well as that of soft drinks and cordials.
It is true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A hearty (but healthy breakfast) will give you energy right through until lunch and means you will be less likely to want to snack on sweet foods. Eat three meals a day and snack on fruit between meals rather than biscuits and cake and you’ll feel lighter and healthier and will have more energy throughout the day (or night). Avoid so called ‘health bars’ and energy foods as snacks as these are usually very high in sugar or fat and thus high in calories; opt for fresh fruit, yoghurt and sandwiches (each with a glass of water) instead to relieve hunger pangs(Ranford et al. 2012).
As far as fluids go, water is best as it has no calories, it reduces hunger pangs, boosts energy and curbs fatigue. Drinking plenty of water (not Coke or similar) particularly after exercise (which can make you hungry) will also help make you feel full and reduce your appetite at meal times. Caffeine and energy drinks are OK from time to time but should be kept to a minimum. Did you know that a can of coke contains the equivalent of about 10 teaspoons of sugar and each teaspoon is about 25 calories. If you are drinking 1-2 litres of coke a day (3-6 cans) then you are consuming between 125 – 250 grams of sugar (half a small bag of sugar from the supermarket) PER DAY ! Alcohol too is just empty calories, if you do drink then choose light or low carb beer and have no more than two cans. If you plan on having 8 hours sleep at night then avoid caffeine (including Coke) or energy drinks 4 hours before bedtime and drink milk (not iced coffee), fruit juice or water instead (Atkinson Davenne 2007).
The Australian Physical Activity Guideline’s recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, in no less than 10 minutes blocks of time. Moderate means activity that increases your heart rate and makes you warm and puff. Weight bearing exercise is best (lifting weights, brisk walking, jogging). Several sessions of more vigorous activity each week are also recommended, e.g. running, squash and the like. Of course if you have a particularly demanding physical job, are on your feet all day, walking up inclines, ladders or shift heavy equipment routinely, then you are probably doing enough exercise. If not then its best to try and work some exercise into your daily routine; and remember that any exercise is better than none at all. This might mean walking back to camp rather than catching the bus at the end of the shift or spending a good half hour in the gym doing some light weights, spending time on the treadmill and maybe the rowing machine. Swimming, cycling and other aerobic exercise are great for cardiovascular fitness if there are facilities available on site. Group sports are good for both the body and the soul. Exercising before you eat is best.
Determining the best time to exercise and work out when doing shift work can be difficult and is largely dependent on the individual’s preference (Diranian 2011). For some, exercising before work is the easiest, whilst for others working out before sleep is preferred (Diranian 2011). Mild to moderate physical exercise is preferred over intensive training to reduce fatigue and induce restful sleep (Atkinson, Davenne 2007). Some people say exercise increases their energy levels whilst for others it tires them out, so it really depends on your preferences and how your body responds to exercise to decide on the best routine for you. For Dayshift workers, exercise generally should take place after the shift, leaving a minimum of two hours between exercise and sleep for the body to recuperate (Scott 2000). Night shift workers should follow a similar protocol exercising after work before a nap or the main sleep period. If time and fatigue are an issue and you need to work out immediately before bed, it should be light, mild exercise as to not interfere with sleep (Scott 2000).
Scott, AJ 2000, Shift Work and Health, Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice, vol 27, no. 4,
Atkinson, G, Davenne D 2007, Relationships between sleep, physical activity and human health, Physiology and behaviour, vol. 90, no. 2-3, pp. 229-235,
Diranian, S 2011, The Best time to work out if you work a night shift, Livestrong.com, accessed 5/9/12
Ranford, A, Willcocks, A, Anderson, L & Mining Family Matters (Organization) 2012, Mining families rock : your complete guide to healthy relationships, happy kids and a household that works, MiningFM, [Australia]
Save the date | 2013 National Men’s Health Gathering
Posted: 13 Nov 2012 08:43 PM PST
The 2013 National Men’s Health Gathering will be held in Brisbane from the 22nd – 25th October at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
The 7th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Male Health Convention
The 10th National Men’s Health Conference
The Inaugural Men and Vulnerable Families Forum
International speakers include:
Prof. Alan White, UK – the world’s first professor of Men’s Health
Mr. Richard Aston, NZ- chief executive of Big Buddy, a mentoring program for fatherless boys
Mr. David Bartlett, UK -deputy chief executive, Fatherhood Institute UK
Joe Puketapu, NZ – contracts manager, Te Hauora o Ngati Rarua
With special appearance by Troy Cassar-Daley
Troy is an advocate for the importance of a healthy family relationship. To see Troy’s message and the conference promotional video please visit www.workingwithmen.org.au
Download our save the date flyer
AMHF – Date Claimer
Men in search of their spirit
Posted: 13 Nov 2012 04:17 PM PST
Written by Chiara Muzzin
Bhutan is known in some circles to be a place of happiness and mystery. To others, Bhutan is unknown. Located between Tibet and India, the country thrives with culture and awe-inspiring scenery. The people’s authentic smiles are welcoming and the land is rich with incredible energy. One man’s journey throughout this magnificent kingdom will create endless possibilities and its rare beauty will inspire you to search for your spirit.
Tim Bidstrup joined wellbeing tourism operator Journeys of the Spirit to discover a treasured and extraordinary part of this world. It was the very personal and inspiring experiences Journeys of the Spirit creates that captured Tim’s attention. He had heard whispers about Bhutan for a long time and throughout his other travel experiences he had heard many people speaking of this mysterious land. He believed it was a place few people had visited.
“My partner introduced me to Journeys of the Spirit. A retreat to Bhutan was on offer and reading about the spiritual aspects of the trip I thought it would be different than just an ordinary holiday. I didn’t think twice about going to Bhutan as I just felt it was going to be a really good fit.”
Traveling with Journeys of the Spirit, where intent and exploring the essence of sacred cultures is their style connected Tim to the spiritual aspects of his personal journey.
“At that point in my life I was learning about Buddhism. I was starting to gain knowledge about it and it was something that really clicked with me. The thought of going to a Buddhist nation and to see Buddhism in practice for me was a really strong draw card.”
Before going to Bhutan, Tim travelled throughout much of India’s poorest regions. Although the people he saw and spoke to barely have the necessities to live, he believes they are some of the happiest people he has ever seen in his life.
“Seeing it all teaches you a different way of looking at the world. There is so much suffering in this world and to me the suffering isn’t only to do with your surroundings it is something upstairs that leads to that suffering. For me, Buddhism was a way of recognising this. Finding a bit of freedom and a way of being virtuous and good to others…to start to be kind to you and be kind to others is the life we should aspire to lead.”
These touching and cherished moments that Tim experienced in Bhutan were not only fostered by the local people he met, he was heartened by the honoring, nurturing and support given by others within the group in which he travelled with.
“The opportunity to reflect, to weave through this spiritual heartland and be given the space in which you can just be yourself is the beauty of what Journeys of the Spirit creates.
“I would say to people if they feel a nagging in their belly that there is something more or that they’re missing something, that they need to open up themselves to the possibility that they can find what they’re after. They need to be open to that and it’s very hard to fill that hole in your belly sitting on the couch. If you have the opportunity to go to some of these magical places, which have their own energy, whether you believe in energy or not, then go for it.”
Returning from Bhutan, Tim reflected on the moments of his journey, which revealed his true self.
“I rediscovered how much I enjoyed making people laugh, how I still withhold the inquisitive spirit of a child, how I can be carefree, fun and not curve myself for the judgment of other people. But most of all, I learnt that I have a strong ability of being a natural leader.”
A few months after this journey, Tim began working with the ManKind Project. He had a huge desire to share his experiences and what he rediscovered of himself. He was also aware there are many things he still wanted to learn about what it meant to be a man of his generation.
“The greatest thing of what the ManKind Project does, is it teaches you what it means to be a man. It isn’t all about hugging, crying and being soft in that way because there are reasons why men are men and why they differ from women. There are also things such as integrity, authenticity and accountability. They are part of the big reasons why men feel unhappy because they don’t feel like they’re living in integrity. It is really interesting to see how men react when they are held accountable to grow and blossom and suddenly develop confidence in themselves. So it’s really powerful in that way too.”
In Tim’s ongoing work with the ManKind Project the struggles that men experience on a day-to-day basis come out over and over again. For men of his generation, it hasn’t improved. As Tim describes, there was no leadership, there was no teaching of what it means to be a man, and there was no understanding of what a man is.
“My role model was very emotionally confined and restricted and you are taught that from a very young age – don’t cry. That’s just what we are taught. The mystery that I am trying to work out is how to get over that and it’s not an easy thing to do in a way that is acceptable to men because it is very uncomfortable.
Imagine if you’ve never done anything or if you haven’t done something for your whole life and suddenly be asked to open up, to change who you are and what you’ve always been taught to believe and what you are meant to be to get by. It doesn’t stop when you leave childhood. You get through your work career and it’s the way men are portrayed in every movie that you see. So it’s very pervasive. It goes throughout a whole society.”
Tim is learning from both the ManKind project and what he discovered in Bhutan and is implementing this within his daily life and his work. As Tim talks about the most rewarding part of working for the men’s movement, you can feel a strong sense of passion for what he does.
“The looks on the men’s faces are the most rewarding part of working for the Man Kind Project. When they go through one of the weekends, they literally come out on the other side as different people carrying about three less tonnes on their shoulders. They realise they can be part of something bigger and that they’re not alone. They can be part of a community because a lot of men do feel isolated. It is really powerful to see. You know that they are going to take that on throughout their lives and pass it on to their kids, to their own sons from a young age and it creates that stop in the cycle. That’s the thing that I love the most.”
Tim has a clear ambition to create more opportunities for men, fathers and sons to explore and discover their true adventurous spirit. He is currently creating some exciting experiences in partnership with Journeys of the Spirit.
In May 2013, Tim will be leading his first group back to Bhutan. His inspiring and passionate temperament is in complete alignment with what Journeys is about.
“The thought of taking other people there really lights me up, it really does. The thought of going back there myself for a start just blows me away. Although I’ve always known since the day I have stepped there that I would be back. I can’t wait!”
I am Syl Johns – Jungala skin, Larakia Nation
I run a Warrior program, changing boys into men, for at risk and trouble young men.
This program is very successful and helps our communities
I will come to your community if your community supports me.
Keeping The Spirit Strong
Principle & Vice President
Kurbingui Sporting Association