Farmers encouraged to check the oil and battery at Henty
Physical and mental well-being for rural and regional people was firmly in the spotlight at Henty with farmers encouraged to step up for their health checks.
The Australian Men’s Shed Association partnered with Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Charles Sturt University asking “How are ewe doing?” and when blokes had had their last “service”.
The Australian Men’s Shed celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Henty Machinery Field Days and now boasts 1300 men’s sheds in Australia and 2500 globally.
Men’s Health Project Officer Stuart Torrance has attended the past four field days, completing over 400 health checks in 2022 and 566 this year.
“This year we partnered with the paramedic students and their supervisors from Charles Sturt University. What surprised me was the number of guys who said, yes, let’s go, whereas in previous years we had to cajole them to come in the door,” Mr Torrance said.
“The train of thought is changing – we are trying to relate the servicing of the operator to the servicing of your car.
“There is a sticker on your car to tell you when it needs servicing. Unfortunately, what men tend to do is wait until the bumper bar or the muffler falls off before they seek help.
“In other words, they are either sick or injured - this is a lot of the comment we are getting from the farming community.
“Now the guys are saying they need to do a regular health check, especially those with young families. They are coming straight in the door this year, no questions asked.”
Mr Torrance said mental health was now openly discussed by the men.
“Anyone with a red flag about a health issue, we strongly suggest they see their doctor. We can’t ask the hard questions or give out scripts,” he said.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District Farm Community Counsellor Jenn Pegler was at Henty promoting the free and confidential counselling to rural and regional residents.
Ms Pegler said with a drought looming, it was critical for people to know phone, telehealth, or face-to-face counselling was available in their home or on-farm.
“It is user friendly and tailored to the individual. We service an area from Albury, Uranquinty, the Snowy Valleys shire, Gundagai, Corowa and Tocumwal,” she said.