Warwick men encouraged to ‘do an oil change on themselves’
MARCO Gliori knows more than most about how stereotypes can rob men of a long and healthy life.
The Southern Downs councillor's dad, Dario, was only 53 when he passed away - an early grave he attributes to societal expectation.
"My dad was an Italian migrant who worked on the adage of 'nothing worries worry worse than work' … in his obligation to be the best dad possible he did the one thing he thought he could do and that was work and work and work," Mr Gliori said.
"In the end, he became a very lonely man."
This national Men's Health Week, Cr Gliori is asking men to take the story in their stride and "slow down and do an oil change on themselves."
"In the rural community not only is there obligation but also physical isolation," he said.
"Farms are lonely places and in drought, when dams go dry, men are carting cattle on trucks and waving goodbye to a whole generation of stock - it is a time when blokes need to make an extra effort to ring up their mates or check in on their neighbours."
His words match the overwhelming evidence that paints a brutal picture for rural Aussie men.
On average, Australians living in rural and remote areas have shorter lives, higher levels of disease and injury and poorer access to and use of health services, according to the Australian institute of Health and Welfare.
Beyond Blue found that male farmers die by suicide at rates significantly higher than the general population and non-farming rural males.
Over the years, Warwick Men's Shed secretary Ian Stevens has seen how infrequently the conversation about health is brought up.
"Men are more likely to service their motor-vehicles than themselves," he said.
"There is certainly an amount of 'she'll be right.'
"We often come across cases where someone has probably let their health problems go on for too long."
The Warwick Men's Group, primarily works with men in their 70-80s, and Mr Stevens said loneliness was the group's prevailing concern.
Over a smoko chat round the table, Mr Stevens said the program was their way of dismantling long-held expectations, step by step.
"The group gives camaraderie, a way to have regular discussions on men's health, with information given from local doctors and the pharmacy, without it being intimidating," he said.
"Everyone always has a problem to discuss. Sometimes there's some pretty heavy ones but we always sit down and discuss them - together."
Men's Health Week runs from June 15-21.
For more information, contact Warwick Men's Shed on warwickmensshed.org
If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.