In New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory there are currently 48 Men’s Health Peer Education (MHPE) volunteers. We have volunteer groups and networks in the following areas:
- ACT and Riverina (Wagga Wagga)
- Coffs Harbour and New England
- Newcastle / Hunter / Central Coast
- Macarthur / Western Sydney
- Port Macquarie and Mid North Coast
- Northern Rivers
Talk! Volunteers provide peer-to-peer support to veterans and other men to encourage men to look after their health. The level of involvement and time is up to each individual. They may:
- Deliver health presentations
- Distribute health information to the veteran community
- Promote the MHPE program in regional areas
- Get involved in Veterans’ Health Week activities
- Host information stalls and events
- One on one support and referrals
Volunteers are supported by DVA with training, resources, news updates and insurance, and by their Volunteer State Representative,
Volunteers get behind Veterans’ Health Week
A big ‘Thank you’ to all of the MHPE volunteers who got involved in organising, attending and running 2019 Veterans Health Week events. Your contribution is an important part of making the week a success, and every year your events benefit veterans and your community.
Veterans Health Week 2020
Save the Date! Veterans Health Week 2020 will be held 25 October – 1 November. The theme is Social Inclusion. If you are a veteran, community or ex-service organisation who would like to get involved contact VHWNSWACT [at] dva.gov.au
MHPE Volunteer Recall Training — Newcastle/ Hunter/ Central Coast
Men’s Health Peer Education volunteers from Newcastle, Hunter Valley and the Central Coast area came together for their annual recall training on 22 October. The group learnt about keeping good oral hygiene with an informative talk from Lynda Kings Community Support Adviser, and a Community Engagement Planning activity where volunteers and the ESO community worked towards building an asset based community development project.
Volunteers promote Men’s Health at Charity Event
Each year volunteers Wally Sweet, Spot Swales, and Bob Crisp hold an information stand at the annual Matthew Locke Charity Footy Match. This year Bellingen Magpies took on Army Thunder on 7 March 2020. Funds raised are donated to local and veteran support groups, and to support an education project at Timor Leste. This event is organised by family and friends in memory of Sgt Matthew Locke, local veteran who lost his life while serving with the ADF in Afghanistan. This is just one example of the work of Men’s Health Peer Education volunteers.
Image above: (L to R) Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley and His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia with Bob Crisp and Spot Swales.
Port Macquarie MHPE Group
The Community in Port Macquarie Mid North Coast area was heavily impacted by fires in November and December and their focus has been on providing support, information and referrals to veterans and their families. Unfortunately their planned Veterans’ Health Week event could not go ahead. Instead the Harrington RSL has put together an alternative event in March which will focus on health and wellbeing and also include information on Trauma and Recovery for veterans and first responders. MHPE volunteers in the area are planning to host a Health Expo in Old Bar in May, and will also be involved in a Veteran, First Responders and Families Support Expo in Taree in August.
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.
For enquiries about the NSW and ACT MHPE programme contact: