New men’s group looks for volunteers to start Gympie BBQ
A grassroots charity that encourages connection and inclusiveness for men is looking for volunteers in and around Gympie.
Mr Perfect: Mental Health's Mate runs free barbecues at more than 30 locations across Australia, where men meet once a month for a barbecue, catch up and a chat about their struggles.
The idea for Mr. Perfect came to founder Terry Cornick when he shared some of his mental challenges with his mates in the pub and they mentioned that they had their own issues.
"In my day job doctors were telling me they had two options, give me medication or a generic leaflet," Terry said.
"My family GP only gave me two options, medication or a psychiatrist.
"I read a BeyondBlue report around the same time about men's 'connectedness' and how as post-30 years old we generally lose touch with friends and isolation can develop.
"Writing was my therapy, so I started writing a book, then a blog and that then morphed into the community it is today."
The first ever official Mr. Perfect meet-up was January 2016 in Sydney and since then it has spread across Australia as a way for men to meet and chat in the most informal but Australian setting, a community BBQ.
Terry said events like Mr Perfect are a great way for men to speak about their mental health issues.
"What we've noticed is that there is a big case of isolation in men," he said.
"They don't have a place to go and speak openly. We've had some men that haven't been out in six months and some who have just moved to a new area and don't have any friends."
Since starting in in 2016 Mr Perfect has spread to parks across Australia and now has BBQ's in every state and territory in Australia and Mr Perfect is now looking for hosts to volunteer a few hours per month and help start a BBQ in Gympie.
"We know there are a lot of men suffering from isolation due to COVID or due to their work schedules and this is a free and easy way to break that cycle," he said.
"Men need soft entry points when dealing with their mental health.
"We need to change this engrained culture of us hitting crisis before we seek help or are forced to, because by then we are given the hard entry points.
"Doctors and medication are important but should not be the first or only option in our toolbox".
Terry said that Mr. Perfect is a space for men to go and escape some of the chaos in their head and to meet some new people for a couple of hours in the sun each month.
"If this sparks a positive change in them or creates friendships or hope or helps stop an issue before it builds, fantastic." Terry said.
"Although we are completely inclusive, it is of course men-focussed so we suspect men of any age will get more value from it.
"Wow we would love to expand into Gympie and surrounds."
The BBQs are free and are open to all men. For more information or to run your own BBQ go to www.mrperfect.org.au