The Shed Mount Druitt together with Western Sydney University Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre have today launched In Our Words: Stories from The Shed Mount Druitt – a collection of interviews by author Chris Panagiotaros with the people, staff and supporters behind the organisation.
Professor John Macdonald, Director of the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre and Foundation Chair in Primary Health Care, said: “The stories provide insights into the lives of the people who are connected to The Shed and tell us about both the needs of our community and the response of The Shed to meet that need.”
Charles, who shared his story, said The Shed helped him reconnect after a difficult period of being homeless. He went on to volunteer for the organisation and is now employed as a counsellor.
“The Shed helped me straight away with support. It was a comfortable place to not be judged and to just be yourself. That’s what I like about it,” said Charles.
“For those ones with a mental illness or depression or addiction or who are lonely and isolated or people who are just having a bad day – it’s an opportunity just to sit and gather. Much like a family; it’s just like sitting around a kitchen table.”
The Shed was established in 2004 by Western Sydney University’s Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre and the Holy Family Church at Mount Druitt as a suicide prevention program in response to the high rate of suicide in males, particularly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in western Sydney.
According to Dr Neil Hall, Assistant Director of the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre, the informality of the support and services, the importance of relationship, and being embedded in the community are key features in The Shed’s success.
“Because The Shed is based on evidence that shows that suicide is often a result of an accumulation of hard events, often to do with legal issues or housing and the like, The Shed sets out to address some of these issues with those who attend. In this way, it puts into practice what is known as a situational approach to suicide prevention,” said Dr Hall.
The Shed offers a broad range of health and support services including counselling, legal advice, podiatry, along with meals and a place to connect.
Download In Our Words: Stories from The Shed Mount Druitt here .