Blokes get together for plenty of banter

Blokes get together for plenty of banter


Events
Bolgart farmer Julian McGill said he was happy to create an event where men could just get together to have a chat.

Bolgart farmer Julian McGill said he was happy to create an event where men could just get together to have a chat.

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Bolgart farmer Julian McGill hosted his second 6Bs night last Friday at 'The Shack', after its successful debut last June.

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BLOKES, Barbecue, Bonfire, Bonding, Beer and Bulldust are the six Bs that make up mental health initiative, 6Bs.

Bolgart farmer Julian McGill hosted his second 6Bs night last Friday at 'The Shack', after its successful debut last June.

About 44 men from Watheroo, Miling, Calingiri, Bolgart, Toodyay, Perth, Bunbury and Northam made the trip last week.

Mr McGill said about 15 men stayed the night and had a big breakfast cook up the next morning.

"Sheep and pig on the spit were delightful and the camp ovens were great," Mr McGill said.

"The beer was flowing and I think everyone that turned up got a lot out of it."

Mr McGill said it was a good opportunity for blokes to make friends and meet people from both surrounding and distant areas, who they may have never met before.

He said it was a good way to kick off the season before everyone started seeding for 2019.

Watheroo farmer Brad Millsteed, who attended the night, dreamt up the idea two years ago as a way to support men's mental health in small towns that have declining population.

Mr Millsteed said Watheroo no longer had any male team sports for guys to commit to attending and they were without grower or farm groups to help host community meetings.

Modern farming is tending to be more isolated than ever before, with businesses expanding, machinery getting bigger, and less reliance on multiple labour units.

"I was involved with the Mingenew Gringos two years ago and their Movember efforts," Mr Millstead said.

"The real catalyst for that was a local suicide of a very well respected farmer which hit the community hard.

"So, throughout rural WA, we are trying to foster as many open conversations as to how people are feeling both good and bad."

Mr Millstead said the middle to late age group were a little lost with the lack of team sports, and too young for men's sheds, plus they all had families to look after, and generally growing businesses as well.

The night was an opportunity for men to get along to an informal event, have a chat and a laugh.

They discussed all sorts of life matters and generally cleared the headspace by communicating face to face with others.

A 6Bs night is a chance for men to come along and have a chat without wives and the kids there.

The organisers said it was proven that men would open up more in the company of other men, from a mental health point of view.

Mr McGill said the event wasn't just about addressing mental health issues, but also a place for men to talk about anything.

"Men our age have nothing - Brad dreamt this up and it doesn't matter if five blokes turn up or 50, if we can help one fella through his troubles I think it's a winner," Mr McGill said.

Mr McGill attended one of the other 6Bs nights hosted by Mr Millsteed and he said a few blokes contacted him afterwards saying how helpful it was.

"There is something about when blokes get together from different districts and sometimes they have never met each other before, but they just click, and there are so many out there who have issues but don't know how to address it or how to see that they have the issue," he said.

Mr McGill said sometimes just by talking, whether it was farming or something general, they had the opportunity to get that off their chest and they understood themselves that if they had an issue they go and seek help.

"There are just too many guys out there that are blinded by the black dog and there is no light at the end of the tunnel so this night gives them a forum to be themselves and just talk," he said.

Mr McGill hopes the 6Bs initiative could be taken to different districts.

"I am happy to do it and I hope that more people decide to get on board," he said.

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