'Real men, real problems': Bringing blokes back from brink
THE LIVES of ordinary Australian men are being changed for the better thanks to a support group which started at a Mooloolaba pub.
Wayne Taylor, a working class plumber from Penrith and Eliot Krause, a Coast real estate agent, started nine months ago meeting once a week for a beer and chicken wings at Taps Mooloolaba.
Since then their catch-ups have developed into Average Joes, an Australia-wide group in focus for Men's Health Week.
They say they're average as it gets, with no doctorates or degrees, just men being men, talking about new-world issues.
Hundreds of men are opening up, addressing topics once seen as taboo, and where other groups focus on suicide awareness or prevention, their focus is on life.
Average Joes caters for men crying out for a platform that deals with their issues.
Mr Taylor said it was changing lives all around the country.
"I met this bloke at one of our NSW groups, the Thursday night before he was planning to kill himself," Mr Taylor said.
"It's been four months and he comes every week.
"The amount of messages we get people telling me it's genuinely saved their lives, it gets me emotional.
"This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
"In my eyes, so many health organisations or groups focus on suicide, but they don't actually get to the root of the problem.
"They just catch the drip.
"We don't focus on suicide, we focus on life."
Average Joes founders don't claim to be experts on mental health, they don't have degrees or doctorates, but they're "real men" who have "real problems".
"Who are you supposed to turn to if your sex life isn't working, if your marriage isn't working?
"What do you do if your son comes home and says he's gay?
"What do you do if you're made redundant at 50?"
"Men want answers.
"The stuff we haven't been talking about for years.
"Men are crying out for answers and want it straight.
"I am the most average bloke around, literally a plumber from Western Sydney, married with four kids. I'm as average as it gets. But I want to stop grown men from killing themselves."
Average Joes meet on the Sunshine Coast at
- Wednesday's 12-1 at Taps
- Wednesday's 6:30-7:30pm at Brightwater Tavern.
- Soon to be Saturday mornings at 7:30am for a boot camp and catchup.