The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) released a report in December 2021 which found that Men’s Sheds deliver significant, tangible benefits to participants and communities.
The report, commissioned by the Australian Minister for Health, Greg Hunt and with a focus on AMSA’s governance, found that Men’s Sheds provide a friendly, safe, and supportive environment for many people and communities.
The Men’s Sheds partner with different organisations to increase awareness of men’s health and prevention issues; and support priority at-risk groups (e.g. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, migrants, men from non-English speaking backgrounds, unemployed men).
Repeatedly, researchers were told that Men’s Sheds provide a safe environment for men to open up about physical and mental health challenges. Often, these discussions were informal chats with peers who encourage reluctant ‘Shedders’ to seek help from health professionals.
Some challenges identified in the report include ongoing disagreements between AMSA and other Men’s Shed organisations, and the opportunity to increase women’s active involvement. Findings suggest many Men’s Sheds have active women as members, however any mandate that they must allow female members to be allowed to attend could risk the core benefit of Men’s Shed participation.
Researchers found that many sheds invite local general practitioners, community nurses, pharmacists, or allied health professionals to attend meetings to discuss health issues, again breaking down the barriers that may prevent men from taking personal responsibility for their health care.
Men’s Sheds are a quintessentially Australian success story delivering tangible, often life-changing benefits to participants and the communities. Many are grassroots operations, and well over 1,000 Men’s Sheds operate in towns and suburbs across Australia.
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