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Social prescribing of men’s sheds: an antidote to loneliness

A leading Welsh men’s mental health organisation has collaborated with Men’s Sheds to create a poignant video on the benefits of joining a men’s group.

Men’s Sheds of WA shared the video on ‘Social Prescribing Day’ (14 March). The video aims to raise awareness about the benefits of social prescribing in healthcare, a relevant message worldwide.

Loneliness is one of the biggest factors in male suicide. A 2023 survey conducted by Healthy Male found that 43 per cent of Australian men were lonely.

According to the survey of 1282 Aussie men over 18, men aged 35-49 had the highest levels of loneliness. 

The Welsh video, produced byHelpu, the men's mental health hub for Wales, UK Men's Sheds Association, and Pontypridd Men's Shed, depicts an older man living alone. "You take your work for granted," he says. "You also take family and friends for granted. When it's gone, it really feels like it's gone," he reflects, looking at a photo of his (presumably deceased) wife. Loneliness creeps up on you."

The man shares his feelings with his doctor, who hands him a men’s Sheds flyer, and his life begins to look up. 

The Men's Sheds movement began in Australia in the 1990s, and there are now more men's sheds across the country than there are McDonald's, with ongoing grants funded by the Australian Government and run through the Australian Men's Shed Association. [Round 27 opened on 15 January 2024].

A 2023 report submitted in the UK Parliament by the UK Men's Sheds Association calls out the results of a survey of 133 Shedders who reported that "As a result of their involvement in their Men's Shed":

  • 76% of shedders say their physical health has improved.
  • 79% of shedders say their mental health has improved.

The Welsh campaign film is to be showcased in the UK Parliament to continue pushing the message of social prescribing and the importance of discussing men’s mental health.


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