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ACT and NSW Men’s Health Peer Education

In New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory there are currently 62 Men’s Health Peer Education (MHPE) volunteers, which accounts for around a third of the MHPE volunteers nationally. In most areas our volunteers work together in networks and regional area groups and are supported by DVA NSW & ACT Community Support Team. We have volunteer groups and networks in the following areas:

  • ACT and Riverina
  • Central Coast
  • Coffs Harbour and New England
  • Hunter Valley
  • Macarthur
  • Port Macquarie and Mid North Coast
  • Newcastle
  • Northern Rivers
  • Western Sydney

The volunteers

Talk! Volunteers provide peer-to-peer support to veterans and other men to encourage men to look after their health. They do this by using the following methods and activities:

  • Deliver health presentations to ex-service organisations
  • Distribute health information to the veteran community
  • Promote the MHPE programme in regional areas
  • Get involved in Veterans’ Health Week activities
  • Distribute the National MHPE magazine
  • Promote the MHPE programme.

The level of involvement and time is up to each individual.

Volunteers are supported by DVA through facilitating volunteer groups and networks, attending annual recall training days, through contact with the Volunteer State Representative, and through our regular NSW and ACT Newsletter and MHPE national magazine. In NSW we also have volunteers who are Regional Representatives from each area, and our State Representative. The role of these reps is to provide leadership to volunteers in their area and to help out with training and support for new volunteers.

News and events

MHPE Volunteer Recall Training — Newcastle/ Hunter/ Central Coast

Thanks to all the MHPE volunteers who participated in Recall Training at Newcastle on 28 August 2018. Topics covered included Infectious Diseases presented by Clinical Nurse Specialist Shelly Clavan from Hunter New England Health. This was our first test run of the new recall topic and it was a very interesting presentation which generated a lot of good discussions including a ‘Glitterbug’ handwashing demonstration with infra-red light. This time the skills topic was our Grants Information Session which was opened up to local ESO groups. This was a great addition to the recall day as there were 20 additional attendees from a range of other groups resulting in a lot of good ideas and networking happening.

Congratulations also to MHPE Volunteers Lou Micallef and Robert Hicks OAM for achieving 10 years with the MHPE program. Awards were presented by our favourite NSW State Volunteer Representative John Macartney.

Men sitting a the big table. A woman standing near the table corner is openning her arms.

Naomi Blundell presenting at Newcastle MHPE Recall Training

 

Coming up: Recall Training at Wagga Wagga, 13 November 2018

MHPE — events and activities

Living Well Expo — Coffs Harbour MHPE Group — 15 August 2018

MHPE Volunteers got involved in the Living Well Expo with an information stand and chance to mingle with other health and wellness groups and meet members of the local community. This year’s event theme was ‘Healthy living for the whole community’ with an emphasis on improving social connections. The aim was to provide information for people with disability and/or a chronic condition, as well as older people and their carers through community awareness of and access to available supports and services.

A panel of experts provided the latest information on a range of topics including Coffs Harbour Council’s ‘Positive Ageing Strategy’, NSW Fair Trading on Consumer Law with My Aged Care/ ‘Consumer Directed Care’ / NDIS scams awareness, MNCLHD Health Promotion on ‘Get Healthy’ & ‘Stepping On’ programs, plus speakers on supports for carers and local activity options for people with disability.

Waratah Men’s Shed

Waratah Men’s Shed in conjunction with Raymond Terrace Men’s Shed held a Men’s Shed Health Gathering at the Waratah complex, the gathering was a restricted affair being only offered to Men’s Shed within the local cluster and a joining clusters. Some 20-odd sheds where represented with over 150 members attending. Bill Cottrell provided information and MHPE sample bags and branded merchandise to attendees just after lunch — which was good because the weather changed and most of the displays where blown away!

Veteran’s Health Week and MHPE

MHPE volunteers in NSW have got on board organising VHW activities for 2018.

BBQ area.

Urunga VHW BBQ – Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour MHPE and Coffs Coast Legacy

The Coffs Harbour MHPE and Coffs Coast Legacy got together to conduct a Urunga Foreshore walk and BBQ. The event focused on a walk along the Urunga foreshore followed by presentation from local nutritionist and sample bags on healthy eating. In the same area MHPE volunteers worked with Nambucca Heads RSL to host a Serving and ex-Serving Community Information Day with a healthy eating focus. This event included speakers, stalls, community information, healthy lifestyle information and morning tea.

Thank you to Wally Sweet for your role in organising and working with Legacy to make this wonderful event happen.

Three older men standing in front of a poster.

Sam Vecchio, Brian Walters and Bob Harper — Western Sydney MHPE

St Mary’s Western Sydney MHPE volunteers and Vietnam Veterans Association

At St Mary’s Western Sydney MHPE volunteers and Vietnam Veterans Association hosted a healthy BBQ with nutrition information at the VVAA St Mary’s Outpost “The Train”.

A great opportunity for MHPE volunteers, VVAA, and local veterans to strengthen their community and learn about nutrition in a relaxed day out. Western Sydney MHPE volunteers also worked together with Castle Hill RSL to host a BBQ event with guest speakers Rouse Hill. Thanks Sam Vecchio, Brian Walters and Bob Harper for getting on board with these events and your local ESOs. Great feedback from all the events and an excellent day.

 
A man in short sleeve shirt and a woman in red cloths standing next to each other.

Rob Fry and Theresa Gray — Alstonville NSW

Northern NSW MHPE volunteers and Alstonville RSL sub-branch

In Northern NSW MHPE volunteers and Alstonville RSL sub-branch organised an Eat Smart, Eat Well event with local produce a nutritionist talk. The event showcased local fruit and vegetable producers with a chance to sample the local produce in a shared morning tea. Participants enjoyed the talk from nutritionist Theresa Gray. Thanks Rob Fry for organising this with your local RSL.

Volunteer profile

John Macartney — NSW/ACT Volunteer Representative

I joined the RAN as a 15-year-old Junior Recruit and after completing my Electrical & Radio training at Cerberus I was posted to Albatross to become an aircraft radio mechanic. I saw operational service on 816 Squadron in Malaya and Vietnam in 1965 and in 1968 went back to Vietnam for twelve months as a Petty Officer but this time dressed in Jungle Greens as the Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) of the US Army’s 68th Signal Detachment which provided Avionics and Communications support for the 135th Assault Helicopter Company stationed at Camps Blackhorse and Bearcat.

After completing my initial engagement of 12 years I had a number of careers ranging from Satellite Laser Tech/Operator for the Smithsonian to a Communication & Gas Monitoring Officer at an underground coal mine. Mixed in with this was 11 years as a TAFE teacher, initially as an Electrical Trades Teacher and working my way to Head of School. I was also the ACT representative on the National Common Core Curriculum and Nation Metals and Engineering Trades Award Restructuring.

After retiring from the mines post heart attack I became a volunteer Welfare, Pensions and Level 3 Advocate for VVAA and the RSL in Bundaberg. I did my initial MHPE Volunteering training in 2007 becoming the Regional Rep for Wide Bay/ Burnett and then the North QLD Volunteers Representative. In 2012 Sue & I relocated to Old Bar where I became a NSW Volunteer, Mid North Coast Regional Representative and now one of the two NSW/ACT Volunteer Representatives.

While I was at the Mines I was an Occupational First Aider as “other duties as required”. Miners do not look after themselves and are worn out well before their time so that really got me interested in preventative men’s health. AS a VVAA Welfare Officer I attended a Health Expo at Hervey Bay where a speaker mention the MHPE program and after a fair bit of digging around found out that I could become a volunteer and that started the ball rolling.

Contact information

For enquiries about the NSW and ACT MHPE programme contact:

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