Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (12:50:14) — Today six Australian men will take their own life — over 2300 men each year, and this number is rising. Sadly, men aged 80 and over suicide at a rate higher than any other age group in Australia. So I was really pleased to recently visit two amazing organisations in Northern Metropolitan Region that are transforming the mental health and wellbeing of older men in my electorate.
The Hume Men’s Shed in Craigieburn was packed to overflowing when I called in last week. With limited resources and virtually no funding, they open a few times a week to provide a welcoming space to share a meal, to learn how to cook a meal, to share other skills and to support each other. For many of the men I met, this men’s shed has literally saved their life. The work of the shed, led by Peter B, Beryl and Terry Clewer, could reach an even wider group of local men if they had a bit more space and a few more dollars.
I was also honoured to watch the over-60s side of the Richmond Union Cricket Club playing their last match of the season. Organised by Eane Whitton, the men tell me that it is like a men’s shed but on an oval. The game is slow but the laughs are definitely fast paced, and the support for each other is firm and fast. The enthusiasm and commitment of the over-60s players is articulated best by the name they call themselves — seenagers, or senior teenagers.