BBQs and belly laughs the big ticket as Mr Perfect hits town
A MEN'S mental health initiative is using one of Australia's great traditions as a way to bring men together in support of each other.
Mr Perfect combines two staples of Aussie life, barbecues and spinning a yarn, as a means for men to meet and chat in an informal setting.
Chief executive officer Terry Cornick said the grassroots movement, which held its first official meeting in Sydney in January 2016, had since branched out to 35 locations across Australia, with the Mackay Whitsunday region its latest addition.
Barbecues are put on once a month in each location.
Mr Cornick said the organisation had identified that Mackay had a particular need for a mental health service such as Mr Perfect, which hosts meetings once a month in each of its registered locations. "It will offer more than just a good free feed," Mr Cornick said
"It will offer the chance for guys to get together in a comfortable, welcoming setting to chat with like-minded people for a couple of hours and escape the house and connect with potential new friends to form a supportive community.
"For the region, I want them to have a place to go each month that may well have a positive effect on its men's mental health in the long run.
"In society we have been conditioned to remain strong, not talk and not connect on a more meaningful level, so I hope this 'soft entry' of attending a barbecue will let guys know there is more to their wellbeing than just a doctor and medication, or worse, self medication."
Mr Cornick said the idea came to him after he shared some of his mental health challenges with his friends at the pub. His mates soon opened up to him about their similar experiences.
"In my day job, doctors were telling me they had two options: give me medication or a generic leaflet," Mr Cornick said.
"My family GP only gave me two options: medication and a psychiatrist.
"I read a Beyond Blue report around the same time about men's 'connectedness' and how (after 30) we generally lose touch with friends and isolation can develop.
"Writing was my therapy, so I started writing a book, then a blog and that then morphed into the community it is today."
Mr Cornick's brainchild now hosts barbecues across Australia, for men to enjoy good food and great company.
Mr Perfect is now seeking new hosts for the Mackay Whitsundays region.
For more information, visit Mr Perfect.