When it comes to his health, Gympie Deputy Mayor Councillor Hilary Smerdon says he is no different to blokes of his generation, having spent a lot of time in manual labour, outside, and playing his fair share of sport.
But making the time to focus on his health and wellbeing hasn’t always been a priority.
“We come from the era of, she’ll be right, I’ll go to the doctor next week, or I can’t go get this checked out because I have to work,” Cr Smerdon said.
“This of course is not at all healthy or responsible. As men we need to make sure we are taking charge of our own health and doing the right thing, not just for us but for our loved ones.
“For example, there is a history of cancer in my family, and I know for a fact it’s nothing to mess with, but according to the Australian Men’s Health Forum, each year around 5.5 million Australian’s are screened for cancer – 98% of them are women. Men need to be better in this space,” he said.
Cr Smerdon acknowledges that it’s not all about physical health but mental health too, and that now, more than ever, there is more pressure on our nation’s men.
“Nine Australians die every day by suicide, 75% of them are male and, people who live in rural areas like ours are two times more likely to suicide.
“Just like with physical sickness, mental illness is real and can be treated, says Cr Smerdon, “I urge men to reach out to our support networks and organisations like Lifeline.”
Cr Smerdon’s message to other blokes is to take time to reflect on your health and wellbeing, stay active, spend time with others, find ways to restore balance in your life and know where to seek help.
In the coming weeks, Cr Smerdon will host the Men’s Health Matters workshop at Gympie Freemason Centre. The workshop was originally due to go ahead in late March but was postponed at short notice due to the COVID-19 lock-down in Greater Brisbane.
Starting at 7pm with light refreshments, men and their partners are invited to make an evening of it and come along to this FREE event focused on men’s health and wellbeing.
A clinical psychologist will lead the discussion, covering everything from nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, important checkups for men, diabetes and heart disease, mental health and wellbeing and relationships.
There will also be free health checks, gift bags, a lucky door prize and your chance to win a Weber® Baby Q® Premium worth $349 (T&Cs apply, winner notified 1 June, 2021).
Places are limited. To register or to find out more visit www.checkup.org.au/menshealthmatters
A six-part webinar series is also being delivered as part of the campaign. The next webinar is on chronic disease prevention and early detection and will be held on Tuesday 13th April at 6:30pm.
This community health campaign is delivered by CheckUP in partnership with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.
Photo: Deputy Mayor Councillor Hilary Smerdon will host the Gympie Men’s Health Matters workshop in the coming weeks.