Australian men are more likely to get sick from serious health problems than women, often due to a lack of early intervention. The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that one of eight Australian men (or 12% ABS 2001 to 2011/12) suffers from depression at any given time. Statistics indicate:
- Men from 35 – 55 years of age are particularly at risk (88% of the AFP falls inside this age group).
- Male depression is associated with an increased risk of health disorders, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Life issues such as death of a spouse, separation, divorce and unemployment – trigger serious situational depression in men more than women.
- Men are likely to resort to destructive behaviours in an attempt to deal with depression.
- Depressed men are two times more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs than depressed women.
- Suicide: 312 males for every 100 females affected.
As a result of these alarming statistics, the AFP Men’s Shed initiative was developed and driven by members in Sydney, who saw a need for a men’s health support network. In partnership with Western Sydney University, AFP Executive and men and women across the organisation, the AFP Men’s Shed concept has grown quickly around the country.
The AFP Canberra Men’s Shed movement was launched in June this year as part of Men’s Health Week and was the product of the efforts by Supt Dan Evans, F/A Nuckhley Succar and the Men’s Shed Sydney team following the launch of the Sydney Office Shed in May this year.
The AFP Men’s Shed aims to provide AFP staff and partners with an opportunity to engage, discuss and provide leadership to address the unique mental and physical health challenges facing men today and into the future.
The AFP Canberra Men’s Shed coordinates meetings and events of like-minded members, or associates, within the ACT region to provide an environment to gather and discuss Men’s health issues.
The AFP Canberra Men’s Shed inaugural event was held on Sunday 16 September at AFP Majura.
Around 120 members and their families viewed a variety of vehicles on display, which included cars, motorcycles, boats, 4W4s and a boulder climber.
This inaugural event was hosted by Specialist Response Group (SRG) and Driver Training, aimed to increase awareness of men’s mental and physical health challenges.
AFP Men’s Shed Champion, Assistant Commissioner APM David Stewart said “Sadly, one in eight Australian men suffer from depression at any given time.
“Events like this are a wonderful opportunity to chat together and raise awareness and make a choice to start a conversation with family and friends about mental and physical health challenges”.
The day included an exhibition from the AFP Museum, a BBQ hosted by the AFP Volunteers in Policing and the very popular SRG demonstration with the Bear Cat and skid pan proving to be fan favourite.
More than $400 was raised on the day and donated to the ACT Cancer Council.
Other significant events in 2018 that the AFP Canberra Men’s Shed embraced and championed included Movember and White Ribbon Day.
On Wednesday 14 November, the AFP Sydney Men’s Shed hosted a ‘Row for your Mo’ event with a surf ski around Rose bay followed by breakfast.
In 2019, the AFP Men’s Shed is scheduling further events with initial planning and fundraising efforts underway for a ‘Come and Try’ Fly Fishing Day in February and a Paintball Day in March. More details about these and regional events will be made available closer to the date.
Membership to the AFP Canberra Men’s Shed is open to past and present AFP members of any capacity, and their immediate family members.
Membership is also open to AFP partner agencies to increase the reach and impact of the men’s health messaging and encourage working relationships.
The AFPA is proud to support and contribute to the AFP Men’s Shed. AFPA Vice President Graeme Cooper said “The sheds give purpose to men who are seeking it. It provides a safe environment for men to come together and in a way, they feel comfortable with.
It just makes sense to support initiatives that improve health and wellbeing outcomes for members and their families.”
The next Canberra based events will be in late February and early March 2019. For more information, membership queries or to get more involved email: Mens-Shed@afp.gov.au or Mens-Shed-Canberra@afp.gov.au