By Melissa Sheil
TWO local men have garnered permission to host Perth’s most eastern chapter of men’s mental health gathering group Mr Perfect with the first barbeque event set to take place in Kalamunda on March 7.
Host Darren Peterson, who also runs mental health first aid workshops and strategy groups, said the barbeques are a great outlet for men who may be silently suffering to reach out or just make some new friends.
“A lot of the time, trying to get a man to talk about his feelings like trying to get a cat to bark,” he said.
“Many men don’t know how to start a conversation about their issues with mates so these groups are a low pressure, low stress safe space where they know others are likely going through similar things and can start an open conversation.
“It’s a conversation that often really needs to happen but many don’t know where to turn to when talking about things like loneliness, divorce, work troubles, children, family.”
Fellow host Matthew Lambert said a large part of Mr Perfect occurred online via service directories and blogs.
“Majority of our service is actually online – we have hundreds of links for groups that deal with specific problems and things that occur in different times of life,” he said.
“Men tend to drift away from their mates in mid-life and going to professional help might seem too daunting, so this is a brilliant middle ground.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in seven men are likely to experience depression or anxiety in their lifetime and are far less likely to seek help than women.
Both Mr Lambert and Mr Peterson have experienced mental health trauma in the past and know firsthand how difficult it can be to find a place to talk frankly without pressure or judgement.
“Guys of any age are welcome, you can be 18 or 88, the only prerequisite is to be a male open for a chat and a snag,” said Mr Lambert.
The Kalamunda chapter is one of six in Perth and 36 in Australia – Mr Lambert and Mr Peterson plan to host a barbeque once a month.
Visit the Mr Perfect website: