The Banksia Project has expanded its Growth Room program into Canberra, with the first meeting set to take place on Wednesday 27 November.
New facilitators, Dave Oliver and Trevor Weir, both have a strong interest in men’s mental health and have undergone specific Growth Room training in order to be well equipped to run the sessions.
Growth Rooms enable younger men in groups of 10 to talk about life isses and provide them with useful tips to help them.
The program was established in Sydney with approximately 20 rooms set up around the state, and as far afield as Orange and Dubbo.
“Our programs aren’t just for people with mental health issues, they are for people who are well also,” Growth Rooms coordinator Jack Jones told AMHF. “The whole point is to actually prevent a crisis and to give guys the tools beforehand. If people are struggling, they are still welcome to attend but we make sure they are seeking professional help if they have complex mental health challenges.”
Oliver, is a coach at a rugby union club in Canberra, and has seen close up some of the pressures weighing on young men in the ACT.
Male suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 15-44 and according to the AMHF ACT Men's Health Report Card published in June, an average of four men a month die by suicide in the ACT.
“It’s about early intervention; mates supporting mates,” Dave told Riot Act! “It’s all about providing a safe space. It’s all about talking about life in a safe facilitated way and providing resources. It’s about sharing and connecting.
“There’s a certain way to behave in a sporting environment where it’s competitive. At times the focus is on hyper-masculinity, where we have to be tough, and it’s hard to express vulnerability. This program offers something away from the sporting team environment.”
The Banksia Project’s Canberra Growth Room will have its first meeting on 27 November at the ANU North Oval from 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. It’s free of charge, confidential and everyone is welcome.
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