New Yalata Men's Shed provides a chance to talk about issues

A new men’s shed at Yalata is set to provide men in the community a space to talk openly about any issues they may be facing.

The ‘Yalata Blue House’ was officially opened last month with a group of about 25 men attending the unveiling.

Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia project officer Joshua Riessen has been involved in the creation of the men’s shed at Yalata and said it was “great” to see it opened.

“I help the men drive activities and health activities such as around the ‘no smoking’ message – it is a place where we want to spread that message and hope to change attitudes slowly,” he said.

“There was a women’s equivalent, a mum’s and bubs space, where women could come together and talk about any issues and we wanted something for the men too.

“It is a safe space and place to talk about any health issues, and it is also a platform for visiting GPs to go over and talk to the men about their health and make sure they are not ashamed to talk about any issues.”

Mr Riessen said the shed project had been in the works for the past few months and was planned in conjunction with community leaders and organisations.

He estimated men from as young as 16 to those in their 70s would use and benefit from the new space.

Mr Riessen said the creation of the men’s shed would have a positive impact on the Yalata community.

“As well as being a safe space to talk, the men will also undertake activities such as arts and crafts, for example traditional painting, and woodwork,” he said.

“They can go to the shed to do these things and sell their items, which can generate some revenue to put back into the house to keep the activities going.”

An estimated 40 men have already been through the shed between its unveiling and the recent official opening and Mr Riessen said the reaction from community members had been “very positive”.

“They are really opening up about personal health issues and are having discussions with the other men,” he said.

“People feel comfortable in the shed and it also helps to bring the community together.”