Tag Archives: Ireland

“A spring in their step” – John Evoy of Irish Men’s Sheds on Newstalk

12 Feb

We spoke recently about Men’s Sheds in Ireland. The movement got some welcome coverage on Newstalk’s Global Village with Dil Wickremasinghe last night.

John Evoy, CEO and founder of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association, described Sheds as spaces in communities where “fellas who may have time on their hands can come together to use their skills and talents and energy and ideas to enrich their lives and also to contribute to the communities that they’re part of.”

The first Irish Men’s Shed was set up in Tipperary town in August 2009. There are now 40 in operation, with a further 40 in planning.  John’s organisation receives three or four queries a week.

John explained that inside a Shed, you might see men working on a woodwork project or renovating a chair, fixing an old bike, drinking tea or playing darts. Sheds aim to create a positive and healthy atmosphere for men and to encourage sharing of feelings and looking after each other. John explained that men are more open to sharing when working together on a project, as the focus is taken off them and instead put on the job at hand.

There are over 700 Sheds in Australia, where the concept of Men’s Sheds originated.

The Irish Men’s Sheds Association was a 2011 recipient of an Arthur Guinness Fund award.

Listen to John talk about Men’s Sheds here

Find your nearest Shed – or get involved in setting one up

Men’s Sheds – Men don’t talk face to face: they talk shoulder to shoulder

8 Feb

Did you know that communities across Ireland are setting up Men’s Sheds – places where men can socialise, network, make friends and share skills? Men’s Sheds aim to recreate the atmosphere of “real life” sheds – safe spaces where men can feel confident to discuss and exchange information.

We all know that men are less likely to talk about their problems or feelings than women, which can aggravate problems with mental health.  The Men’s Shed movement, which originated in Australia, wants to help men to reach out to other men and become valued and valuable members of their community.

Shed with two red flowerpots

A Men’s Shed is described as any community-based, non-commercial organisation that is open to all men and provides a safe, friendly and inclusive environment where the men can gather and/or work on meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men and where the primary objective is to advance the health and well-being of the participating men. Men’s Sheds are an innovative mix of community education and health promotion projects.

Read about Men’s Sheds in Ireland and find your nearest Shed – or get involved in setting one up: http://www.menssheds.ie/

And check out Australia’s Shed TV, which features regular videos on DIY, cooking and nutrition, health topics and lots more: http://www.theshedonline.org.au/news/index

Are we finally opening up about mental health issues?

7 Feb

It seems that every time the topic of depression, anxiety and suicide has been raised on the airwaves recently, the floodgates have opened: people are desperate to talk about their mental health problems and extremely grateful that the issue is being broached in the first place.

Gary Speed’s suicide, Andy O’Brien’s depression, Kate Fitzgerald’s letter to the Irish Times and RTE’s The Frontline programme on mental health are just some of the triggers that have prompted people to take to the airwaves and letters pages in recent months to address the issue of our mental health and to share their experiences, often with devastating and moving honesty.

Continuing this national conversation, a listener rang into the Tom Dunne show on Newstalk today in response to an interview with Caroline McGuigan of Suicide or Survive. You can listen to Neil’s searingly honest account of his suicide attempt of 14 years ago and his ongoing battle with anxiety here: http://www.newstalk.ie/2012/featured-5-slideshow-homepage/suicide-or-survive-caller-opens-up-to-tom/

Neil made the crucial point that we need to talk more about this stuff as a country. More people commit suicide in Ireland each year than die on the roads, yet we lack a co-ordinated, high-profile, well-resourced campaign that addresses our nation’s mental health and seeks to remove the stigma attached to depression and mental health problems.

Could it be that the high-profile media attention devoted to this subject over the past months marks a welcome sea change in attitudes? If so, what can we do to exploit that momentum and make this an ongoing and nation-wide conversation?