Ottawa Citizen, 14 September, 2022,
An invitation from our new city columnist Bruce Deachman: Let's make sawdust together
I had breakfast on Tuesday morning with a group of retirees who meet weekly under the name Men’s Shed Ottawa Centre. I’ll be writing more about them and the Men’s Shed phenomenon later this week, but I bring them up here because they are representative of at least part of what I hope to accomplish in my new role as city columnist.
I cite the Ottawa Centre Shed here because, notwithstanding the maleness and age of its members, they stand nicely as a microcosm of the city, or a goodly portion of it, with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and a willingness to share their stories with anyone who might show up for a coffee.
I have long loathed corporate-minded jargon, bafflegab and hackneyed platitudes. That said, I’ve always had a soft spot for this Postmedia slogan: “Inform. Enlighten. Entertain.” As a journalist and columnist whose job it is to reflect the city back on itself, I feel that pretty much sums up my aspirations each time I sit down to write.
Today, however, I might add this: “Make sawdust together.”
Ottawa Citizen, 16 September, 2022
Deachman: The Men's Shed is a place for men to gather, support one another and be of use
The group uses 'stealth help' to combat the isolation, depression and loneliness that often follow a departure from working life
It was — surprise, surprise — his wife who noticed something online about a group called Men’s Shed, and urged Rey to look into it (subtext: Hey, Rey, get out of the house).
And so on a recent Tuesday, Calleja was enjoying a not-too-early breakfast at Hometown Sports Grill on Bank Street, surrounded by other members of Men’s Shed Ottawa Centre, or “shedders” as they colloquially call themselves.
"As befits a group largely made up of retirees from a diverse array of occupations, the conversation — as I mentioned when I touched on the group earlier this week — was varied and unpredictable, and on this day included such topics as distant call centres, university rankings, the scarcity these days of French mustard, search-and-rescue satellite systems, books, and what dessert to bring to a dinner party, to cite just a few."
CTV News 3 May 2022,
New life for old bikes
Some old bicycles are getting a new lease on life thanks to members of the Bike Shed who rescue unused, or discarded bicycles, then fixing hem up to be donated to schools. 1:47
Good Times Magazine 5 Nov, 2019,
Men's Sheds: Men Helping Men
Men’s Sheds expand the idea of a man’s backyard shed to a collaborative communal space where men can get together to do activities such as woodworking and repairing household items for others.
Vancouver Sun Op-Ed, 30th April 2021,
No health without mental health
A growing body of research indicates that small-scale, locally grounded, community-driven programs play a vital role in promoting mental health, especially among underserved and hard-to-reach populations. Such community programs include veterans’ peer support groups, youth drop-in centres, and an innovative intervention targeting lonely and isolated older men called Men’s Sheds.
The International Men’s Sheds Organization states that, “A Men’s Shed is a dedicated, friendly and welcoming meeting place where men come together and undertake a variety of mutually agreed activities.” These sheds are typically located in a small building comprised of a few workshops or rooms, where men can engage in activities including woodwork, metalwork, horticulture, repairs, music-making, cooking, or simply watching TV together — a kind of youth club for older men.
Co-author Rob Whitley is an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at McGill University.
Clearwater Times, 19 Feb 2020
District councillor trying to bring Men’s Sheds to Clearwater
Most small towns have an array of activities to keep folks busy, including after school programs for children, youth nights for teens or family events on weekends.
But many of these are for kids or families, and those geared towards adults typically see more women than men at about a 10-to-one ratio.
As coordinator for the Wells Gray Country Seniors Society, Frizzle says no matter how many activities she runs, attendance is almost always “85 per cent women and a smattering of men.”
This observation led her to look for ways to bring older men together to do what they want to do.
Psychology Today June 11, 2018
It’s Time to Stop Blaming Men for Their Mental Health Woes
Many mental health campaigns consider talking as a sign of emotional literacy and essential to the development of positive mental health and psychological resilience.
This encouragement to talk is commonly deployed when discussing men’s mental health, where men are frequently stereotyped as self-destructively silent, stubborn and stoical in the face of mental health issues.
For example, the Australian national mental health campaign ‘Beyond Blue’ starts its men’s mental health web-page with the sentence ‘men are known for bottling things up’. Likewise, recent media articles on men's mental health focus on men's alleged taciturnity, with accusatory titles such as 'men need to talk about their mental health' or 'not talking about mental health is literally killing men'. In this discourse, men themselves are implicitly blamed for their mental health woes.
‘If only men would talk more, their mental health would improve and their problems would be solved’ or so the argument goes. However, such a simplistic rendering of the issue is highly problematic for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, it glosses over growing evidence that social context is a key determinant of mental health. Secondly, it blames the victim, further contributing to a lack of empathy and understanding. Thirdly, it ignores much research indicating that there are different modalities of mental health healing, many of which are action-based rather than talk-based.
The Herald Scotland, 8th April 2016,
How the men's shed movement is helping older men fight isolation
The idea is simple: sheds are places for men to meet, pursue hobbies and have a laugh. Drink is barred, and it’s not about sport. Men repair machinery, make bookshelves, use lathes and bandsaws, play bridge, build model railways, drink tea, tell sometimes vulgar jokes and ridicule each other.
TRICITY News, 4 May 2022
Port Moody Men's Shed Society gets ready to open its doors
Men's Sheds aren't just a place for men to work on their handyman projects, they also provide mentorship and mental health benefits
northernontario.ctvnews 4 May 2022,
Sudbury senior men find camaraderie with new club
Some old bicycles are getting a new lease on life thanks to members of the Bike Shed who rescue unused, or discarded bicycles, then fixing hem up to be donated to schools. 2:01
NEEPAWA BANNER & PRESS NOVEMBER 27, 2020
Neepawa Men’s shed donates ornaments
The Neepawa and Area Men’s Shed was busy making Christmas ornaments recently. The work was done in a socially distanced workshop, with each member diligently wearing their masks, and as much as was possible at home.
At the December 3 Council meeting, Councillor Marc Gressler made Council and the public aware of Men’s Sheds Canada, an organization to help men connect and together avoid loneliness, isolation, and depression.
The spirit of volunteerism thrives during the holidays
Men’s Sheds is an informal club where retired men socialize and work together on community projects through a shared passion for building things. While men of all ages are welcome, more often than not it’s older men who seek out the easy-going camaraderie the group dynamic provides. Recognizing the mental health benefits Men’s Sheds provides its members, Victoria Lifeline has proudly supported the organization through their Health Promotion Grant program.