Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls
Western Australia Minister for Agriculture and Food Terry Redman
Successful Men’s Health Program Expanded
Victor P Taffa
A successful service to improve men’s wellbeing and personal resilience in the Wheatbelt will be expanded State-wide using funding from the Liberal-National Government’s Royalties for Regions program.
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls and Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman today announced that $2.78 Million in Royalties for Regions funding over three years had been committed to support the initiative that would expand the delivery of vital support and resilience counselling for men in regional Western Australia.
The announcement coincides with International Men’s Health Week, from June 14-20.
Mr. Grylls said the interdisciplinary program would operate within a ‘community development model’ and focus on a wellness and not an illness approach.
“Support programs will be tailored to the specific community needs rather than a one size fits all approach.” Mr. Grylls said
“Raising awareness of men’s health issues including physical aspects such as prostate cancer, stroke and heart attack prevention, and mental health matters including suicide prevention will be some of the issues that will be addressed in the program.”
“Men will be encouraged to take responsibility for all aspects of their health.”
This initiative expands on the successful Wheatbelt Men’s Health program that has been run by the Department for Agriculture and Food for the past five years.
Mr. Redman said the State Government recognised the importance of country health services.
“In WA, around a quarter of all males over the age of 15 years live in Regional Areas.” Mr. Redman said.
“This program will deliver education and awareness of men’s health and wellbeing issues, and will work towards increasing individual and community resilience in regional WA and reducing suicide rates.”
“It will complement existing country health services and other allied services to help improve the quality of life for farming, pastoral and mining industry families and communities in regional locations.” Mr. Redman said.
The initiative brings men together in a social and recreational environment allowing them to talk casually, share experiences and break down barriers.
“It provides the opportunity for personal circumstances to be discussed, allowing men to get help if required or simply to be supported by others in similar situations.” Mr. Grylls said.
“Providing support to regional men and their families in times of economic and climatic change will also be a priority.
“Suicide rates among male farm owners and managers are around twice the rate of the national average and this is heartbreaking.” Mr. Grylls said.
“The Australian Medical Association recognises that rural and regional men face different health issues to their urban counterparts and by most measures, they are overrepresented in the ‘negative health outcome’ statistics.”
“The need for a multi-disciplinary approach in the Regional Men’s Health and Wellbeing program is recognised by health professionals, the WA Country Health Service and the community at large.” Mr. Grylls said.