Dan Hunt's Mental Health Movement (MHM) has entered into a community partnership with an Illawarra initiative that has grown so rapidly during COVID-19 it helps more than 600 men with their mental health each month.
Barstool Brothers committee member Tim Fares described the partnership as a significant milestone for the organisation as it begins formalising its structure and goals.
Originally starting as a group of men catching up on a monthly basis at His Boy Elroy the number of Barstool Brother members has grown to more than 600 people engaged in at least 10 events a month at different venues across the Illawarra. They include golf days, trivia nights, morning walks, lawn bowls and family BBQ beach days.
In the process the men build authentic relationships, support each other through their own personal mental health journeys and are there for each other, whatever the situation.
Barstool Brothers is informal and its light-hearted activities that help build strong relationships. But Mr Fares said the committee always realised the serious nature of the challenges members' face. Challenges that require a sound understanding and education based support. And that is where MHM comes in.
"Dan and his team specialise in providing training to organisations wanting better support for their people and create a culture where it is okay to not be okay and it's okay to ask for help," he said.
MHM will be the education and training provider for Barstool Brothers which has joined it as a community partner.
"Dan and his team will provide training to the staff at His Boy Elroy, The Illawarra Hotel and the Barstool Brothers Steering Committee, to help better equip the teams to handle situations that may arise," Mr Fares said.
Mental Health Movement is also providing members of Barstool Brothers access to online resources specifically designed to improve mental health management and build personal resilience.
Hunt said it was great to see something like Barstool Brothers being done by the community for the community.
"It has gone gangbusters, they have over 600 members and they have so many different events that are helping men feel safe in an environment where they can open up," he said.
"Obviously with that comes an element of support. We feel lucky they got in touch with us when they were looking for a mental health training partner which is what we specialise in in the workplace.
"The committee and some of the staff at His Boy Elroy have two nights booked in with Chris Houston and myself where they will be completing a mental health response accreditation.
"That will provide them the best practice skills to identify a potential mental health struggle, how to start and hold those kind of conversations, boundaries and best practice support in crisis and in non crisis situations.
"Being able to do that for Barstool Brothers is going to be massive."
T-Shirts are also available for purchase by anyone, not just members of Barstool Brothers, that double as a subscription to the MHM Digital Academy that provides awareness education, resources, training and links to other support at anytime via their phone.
"It is a fantastic initiative that is going to go a long way to creating a mentally healthy supportive community," Hunt said.
MHM works with businesses in Australia and worldwide to help develop and maintain mentally supportive workplaces and organisations, which has become even more important with all the challenges, changes and uncertainty presented by COVID-19.
"We deliver what we call our mental health workplace blueprint," Hunt said.
"We have done that now with just over 350,000 Australian workers from 75 different companies. We have a team of 14."
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