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Blokes BBQ celebrates male contributions

MORE than 100 people gathered to celebrate International Men’s Day at the Blokes BBQ Breakfast on Tuesday 19 November at the Goods Shed, Macquarie Point.

Men’s Resources Tasmania (MRT) president and Blokes BBQ organiser Jonathan Bedloe said the barbecue was “a really successful event.”

“International Men’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the good things that men do and their contributions to society,” he said.

“We hear a lot of negativity about masculinity and some of the challenges that it might present, so we focus on the overwhelmingly positive contributions that men make.”

MRT was officially established in 2014 to continue the work that Mr Bedloe, who used to be a mental health policy officer, and others were doing for men.

“Before, we just met informally as people working with men and tried to work out how we could work with men better,” Mr Bedloe said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics ranked ‘intentional self-harm’ number 10 in the 20 most common causes of death for Australian men in 2018.

For Australian women, intentional self-harm was not among the highest 20 causes.

In Tasmania, three out of four suicides are male.

Highlights of the barbecue included guest speaker, “legend dad and former AFL star” Paul Hudson, of whom Mr Bedloe said, “shared some really great messages.”

Mr Bedloe said a key takeaway from Mr Hudson’s speech was the importance of having conscious chats with friends.

“Paul Hudson spoke about the important role that mates play and the preventative approach of talking about issues and sharing things with your mates,” he said.

“But also, that as mates, we need to check in with each other and get into a more conscious chat when we’re concerned and be willing to ask questions.”

Wellbeing and diabetes educator from Let’s Flourish Heather Kennett also attended the barbecue to offer heart checks, which inspired some people to head to their doctor for an official check-up.

Heart diseases are significantly fatal to both men and women in Australia, ranking number one for men.

Mr Bedloe also said it was great to have the involvement of students from New Town High School at the event.

“We’re just trying to support their journey and support positive role models for younger men and boys, as well as get them thinking about their masculinity and role in the world.”

Caption: Local musician Matt Gray, who performed at the Blokes BBQ Breakfast.