Wendell Sailor to be guest speaker at Ben Lomond men's health night.

Guyra Health Service Manager Leanne Fitzgerald, left, Guyra Local Health Committee representative Dot Vickery, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Men’s Health Night co-ordinator Alisa Kennedy celebrating the funding news.
Guyra Health Service Manager Leanne Fitzgerald, left, Guyra Local Health Committee representative Dot Vickery, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Men’s Health Night co-ordinator Alisa Kennedy celebrating the funding news.

A Guyra men’s health night in October received $5,000 from the NSW Government on Wednesday.

The event at the Ben Lomond Hall on 19 October will discuss matters which too many men try to cope with by themselves: mental health, depression, and prostate cancer.

The guest speaker on the night will be former professional rugby footballer Wendell Sailor, a dual code international who played both league and union for Australia. Since his retirement, he has travelled around Australia raising awareness of men’s health issues.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced the funding on Wednesday, and said Guyra’s Local Health Committee had identified men’s health in the region as a key priority area.

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“It was obvious we needed a men’s health night,” co-ordinator Alisa Kennedy said. “We find that females are more than happy to go the local doctor and get some help that way. Men try to deal with it on their own.”

Mr Marshall approached NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on behalf of the Local Health Committee, and secured the funding as a discretionary grant.

“This funding means that the night can be expanded in scope, a better PA system can be hired and the cost of the venue and catering is now fully covered, meaning the committee can use its funds for other local activities,” Mr Marshall said.

Guest speakers will give out resources and provide information on where to find support and advice locally.

Third-generation farmer Rob Anderson will talk about surviving droughts, depression, and the stresses of working on a farm and living in a rural town. Natasha Bissell, Tamworth Hospital’s prostrate cancer specialist, will provide resources on the disease. 

Mental health clinicians and Centacare workers will also attend.

Wendell Sailor represented Australia in both rugby league and rugby union.

Wendell Sailor represented Australia in both rugby league and rugby union.

“Events like these are incredibly important to communities,” Mr Marshall said. “The opportunity to hear from an elite athlete and the informal interaction between locals and doctors makes this a social outing that also achieves a key outcome – keeping men thinking about their health, and not brushing it off with a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude.”

Donated items will be auctioned or raffled. All money raised will be used to pay for the event, and anything left over will be put aside for another Local Health Committee event next year.

“This event is shaping up to be a great night, and I encourage all local men to head along in October,” Mr Marshall said.

“I know all too well that men often shy away from talking about health issues, and tend to avoid having basic check-ups. Nights like these help break down that reluctance to speak about health issues, and give men a chance to engage with health topics specific to them.”

The Guyra Men's Health Night is at the Ben Lomond Hall (1233 Ben Lomond Road, Ben Lomond) on October 19, from 6pm to late. Entry free. Free return bus travel from Guyra; dinner supplied.

For further enquiries, or to offer assistance with sponsorship, contact Alisa Kennedy: (02) 6738 4045, or email hnelhd-lhcguyra@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au. RSVP: October 5 2018.

The event is sponsored by Guyra MPS, Adam Marshall, the Cronulla Sharks, the Parramatta Eels, JM & G George Investments, and The Whitebull.

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