On Feb. 28, Burnie Rotary hosted Mr Ben Hughes, who helped start the “Men’s Table” movement in Sydney in 2011. Ben moved away from Sydney, but others in that first Table still meet once a month. Ben came to Launceston six months ago and has already helped establish four Men’s Tables in Tasmania; two more are soon to start.
A Men’s Table (see https://themenstable.org/) creates a unique environment for men to talk about their lives, their challenges, their highs and lows with a group of men whom they learn to trust and respect. The Vision: Healthy Men, Healthy Masculinities, Healthy Communities.
A Men’s Table creates a sense of belonging, community, peer support and camaraderie that is lacking for many men; even for some who already have a group of mates. A Table can begin with two or more men, but membership of any able is capped at twelve; there can be several Tables in a town if demand warrants.
There are only a few simple rules:
- There is one meeting a month
- You only need to bring your ears
- No man is required to speak
- When one man speaks, everybody else is silent and listens
- The only cost is the price of a meal
- We run to a set of guidelines that ensures no politics, religion or business talk and no alpha male behaviour.
The Men’s Table survey From Couch to Community in 2021 was completed by 98 men across 12 Tables, who were asked: In the past 12 months –
- Have you experienced mental health issues or been concerned about your mental health?
- Have you had times when you’ve felt life isn’t worth living?
53% of respondents had experienced a mental health issue and 19% had experi-enced a feeling that life was not worth living.
Ben will be starting Tables on the North West Coast and would love to hear from any men who are interested in helping themselves but equally important helping other men. Ben can be contacted at email@example.com or 0424 99 33 66