Men’s bush trips connect Aboriginal men to support networks
Regular bush trips for indigenous men in the Goldfields, WA, are supporting men to change their behaviour and access services they had no idea existed.
Reports the June edition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health e-bulletin, 25 bush trips have now been organised, connecting around 190 men to community services and to country in a relaxed bush environment.
The Bush Trips began in March, 2022, after Hope Community Services set up the Mara Pirni Healing Centre, “a centrally located, wrap-around provider of a range of services for women, children, families friends and victims of Family and Domestic Violence in the Goldfields North Region.
Justice and Community Manager Stephen Morrison says domestic violence brings fears to families and takes opportunity away from them. “Our approach for this men’s bush trip is that we can do the opposite; bring peace to situations of trouble and arguments and create opportunity for our families.”
Not everyone who takes part are involved in FDV “but all of them have come together, to build a good support network for men in our community.”
Mara Pirni has created photo album, showing past trips and the different topics that took place in yarning circles. Guest speakers and men with lived experience discuss risky alcohol use, mental health issues and the importance of having regular health check-ups. For example Community Elder Michael McGuiness shared his story of the Stolen Generation and the issues he faces being a man, husband, father and grandfather because he was taken away and didn’t know his parents.
On another trip to Lake Douglas, WA Police Force Community Relations Officer Frank Martin spoke about his role educating WA police officers on suitable, culturally appropriate approaches with Aboriginal people.
The booklet includes contact details to key important support services, including for Alcohol and Drug Support, Quitting Smoking, Aboriginal Legal Services, and the Step Up/Step Down community-based mental health services in WA that aims to support people with mental health issues, providing short-term residential and individualised care.
Food is shared during these trips, with Woolworths donating $100 of free food. Leftovers are split among the group at the end of the day.
During NAIDOC Week from July 2-9, the Men’s Bush Trip crew will spend the day at Wendy Gully, starting at 10am. For more information about this and subsequent trips, contact Stephen Morrison: [email protected] or call 9021 3069