Illawarra's annual lunch for men to talk about health not only coincided with the start of Movember on Friday.
An announcement was made that the initiative it is expanding in several ways to help men catch up with women who are better at talking about their health and taking the initiative to proactively manage it.
The news came after 150 people heard prostate cancer survivor Matt Starr talk about his journey and encourage men take the initiative to get checked because early intervention is so important.
And a panel discussion involving Movember Foundation's Dr Zac Seidler, Men's Health Australia editor Scott Henderson and Zenergy Group's Matt Elliot. Some of the key messages were to understand your own behaviours and become and expert in yourself. Mr Elliot said we are all smarter than we think. He also suggested we should all try not to worry so much. And to practice being kind because that is not only good for the person receiving it. It also has a positive result physically on the person giving it..
Mr Henderson said "if you don't make time for your health now you are going to have to make time to be unwell later".
The two doctors on the panel said it is important not to wait until someone tells you to get screened. Take the initiative yourself.
Event founder Joshua Tree said It's A Blokes Lunch will continue to promote conversation and raise funds for important programs. But it is also heading in some new directions.
"The lunch has supported a number of not-for-profit organisations over the past few years and has also developed programs to work with organisations in delivering programs," he said.
"What we do know about mental illness is it can actually start as young as five. So we need to be able to work with our kids at a much earlier age to give them the tools to be able to have conversations with their mates and conversations with their parents or their teachers if they think someone is in trouble".
Mr Tree said It's A Blokes Lunch will be forward to September 4 to give it space on its own away close to Father's Day.
"And we are launching a spin-off called It's A Blokes Chat. It will not only have a pod cast feature but also have smaller community events to broaden our audience as we try to speak to more blokes in the Illawarra about their health. We are also looking at rolling out programs around mental health first aid. We are looking at working with businesses in the Illawarra to improve mental health literacy in the workplace. And working with schools with teachers and students. We will need community support to make it happen. But we have the resources and training and ability to deliver," he said.
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- Men's health and the importance of exercise was on the menu at the first It's A Blokes Lunch on Friday