Mental health charity Mind Your Head has launched a survey asking residents across the isles whether they would like to see the “Men’s Sheds” programme extended.
Working alongside Voluntary Action Shetland and the Scottish Health Council the charity is keen to bid for funding to introduce Men’s Shed’s – a meeting place for men – outwith Lerwick.
The purpose of the shed is to provide an environment where men can meet others with shared interests and hobbies such as woodwork, painting, photography and model making. The idea originated in Australia but has been introduced in other parts of Scotland since 2013.
The sheds provide opportunities for men to share their expertise and gives the chance for friendships to develop which is beneficial for wellbeing, said Mind Your Head worker Anouska Civico.
A Men’s Shed scheme has already been launched in Lerwick by Frank Miller through Lifeskills and Mind Your Head now wants to gauge interest in other areas.
Mrs Civico said: “The sheds act as a meeting place and brings men together with a common interest. For us as a charity it provides an opportunity for men to come and talk about everyday things, as well as the potential to talk about mental health.
“We have been doing ‘Grubby Huts’ where we go to male-dominated workplaces and talk to men. We have found men do talk about mental health as long as they are given the opportunity to talk.
“Unfortunately, there’s generally a lack of opportunity for men to get together and talk. Men’s Sheds can provide that opportunity in an informal setting.”
That could be particularly important for some of those who are retired or widowed and could otherwise be at risk of social isolation, said Mrs Civico.
“Mental health is part of our wellbeing and it is as important as physical health. We all have mental health and have good days and bad days. We are trying to normalise mental health and normalise talking about it.”
There have already been a number of responses from people who are keen to be involved, and the group working on this would particularly like to hear from men who would be interested in using the shed and where they think it should be based.
Responses should be in by Friday 6th May.
Anyone interested in the Men’s Shed running in Lerwick should contact Mr Miller on 07879 011400 or 01595 693495.