The men’s sheds community has responded to the closure of almost 1000 sheds across Australia with the development of an online portal to maintain connection between men who ‘live and breathe’ shed life.
As the Australian Men’s Sheds Association advised members how to close shop for an indefinite period of COVID-19-induced confinement they have also launched AMSA Shed Online in partnership with the Irish and the American Men’s Shed Associations.
"That's going to be an online forum where they can engage and talk to each other,” AMSA’s executive officer David Helmers told ABC News.
Mt Pleasant Men’s Shed chairperson Murray Henderson told the Barossa and Light Herald three days’ ago that its Shed members had initiated a phone tree where blokes were encouraged to call at least two other men to check up on them.
They were also planning to create a Facebook page, following the example of other men’s groups who are taking their services online, such as Mr Perfect and Dads in Distress.
Last week the Australian Men’s Health Forum forecast an expected rise in male suicide as a result of coronavirus-induced social isolation.
AMHF CEO Glen Poole said the Government needed to take “innovative action to save more lives from suicides linked to isolation and financial distress in the coming months.
“Our immediate concern is for older men who have a higher rate of suicide than any other age group. Support services like men’s sheds are closing their doors and older men are becoming more isolated in the process.”
Barmera Men’s Shed coordinator John Hughes told the ABC its members were keeping a close look out for mates.
"We know there are people who may suffer from different things, such as depression, and we've been following up with some of those people and at least keeping in contact and making sure they are OK," Mr Hughes said.
In addition to Men’s Sheds Online, AMSA has released some handy tools to help members stay connected with Shed mates.
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