Wollondilly’s six Men’s Sheds collaborated to produce a film about men’s mental health which was recently released on International Men’s Day.

The film, Blokes Sheds Mateship, was made with a grant from Wollondilly council by Noel Plunkett from West Parade Films with an original music score by Patrick Nellestein from River Road Academy.

“I was keen to be involved once I discovered that the men’s shed is not for just for making things, but was about health and mental health, which are areas I’ve been working in for the last couple of years,” Mr Plunkett said.

1 in 4 Australians feel lonely or isolated and with Wollondilly being such a vast area, with the towns and villages so widely spread, this is a big factor to be able to have a meeting place for men to come to and be social.

During the film you hear a common theme about how great it is for the mental health of the members, how friendships have been formed and how much they love helping the local community.

“It is an excellent film, promote it far and wide. It’s important for everyone to see it and encourage others to get involved,” said Nathaniel Smith, Member for Wollondilly.

Appin, Bargo, Menangle, Oakdale, Tahmoor Uniting, and Warradale Men’s Sheds make things to sell in the community to fundraise and also help community members fix items. They sometimes even take special orders like the bee hives they made for a lady and 300+ boomerangs made for community groups for craft. Anyone over 18 can join a local Men’s Shed.

The Appin Men’s Shed wives have set up a friendship group, who meet for coffee when the men are down at the shed, a great initiative which is now being followed by other sheds.

Some men come once a week, others two or three times, to relax, chat to other blokes, talk about their lives and problems over a coffee and have a few laughs and sometimes tears.

And as Dave Clayton from the Bargo shed said, “It’s about supporting each other through ups and downs.”

–   Sharon Robertson