Men need support, too

MEN get little sympathy when it comes to mental health, if Coffs Harbour’s men’s resource centre is any guide.

Five men commit suicide in Australia every day and the Coffs Coast sees its share of that, especially among young men.

But Jean Clayton is beginning to wonder if looking after men is a public liability.

“I can’t find specific funding for men,” Mrs Clayton said.

The trained counsellor is the volunteer co-ordinator of the Men’s Resource Centre, which has been desperately seeking funding since it opened last October, although it has already helped about 300 men.

While reluctant to say there was a bias against men in grant and funding programs and even in public sympathy, Mrs Clayton said she had experienced no such difficulties when working professionally in women’s and children’s services

The Bridging the Gap Community Services Coffs Harbour Inc. centre is running on the devotion of its volunteers, the pro-bono professional services of busy psychologist Bill O’Hehir and donations from several supporters. Mrs Clayton said they needed to find $1650 a month to cover the rent for their premises at 40 Little St. She said contrary to popular belief, the men they saw were not “a string of losers” but men from all walks of life and all trades and professions facing all kinds of crises, from facing a court case or finding themselves the subject of an apprehended violence order to men who find themselves homeless, have lost their partner or their job or are suffering depression or anxiety.

“The majority of these guys are on the tips of their fingers waiting for life,’ she said.

“They don’t know where to go for help.”

The centre opens five days a week from 9am to 4pm and can be contacted on 6650 9953.

Donations to the centre are tax deductible.

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