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September 6, 2022

Men’s talk saves lives

Although the severity of the cost of living crisis feels on a scale similar to the pandemic, there’s already a sense that the Government response will fall short. And there’s also a sense that community-led services, still in recovery from the pandemic, will somehow have to find the resilience and capacity to respond. In recent years, Men’s Sheds have become a welcome addition to the community landscape supported by a small team at SMSA. Despite facing an uncertain funding future themselves, SMSA continues to find new ways to promote the multiple benefits of Sheds for men’s health and wellbeing.


New animation promotes that ‘men do talk’ in Men’s Sheds

Men don’t talk – that is the perception anyway. Some men struggle to open up about their feelings, experiences, struggles and health matters but the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA) is quashing this theory by launching the first in a series of animations to promote that men do open up and talk in Scottish Men’s Sheds.

SMSA CEO Jason Schroeder said: “We are producing these animations to educate and inform on the range of benefits that Men’s Sheds can bring to men’s health and wellbeing. The first animation promotes men coming together in a safe space and opening up to talk ‘shoulder to shoulder’ including sharing health matters that may be concerning them.” 

The short animation, based on a true story from a Scottish Shed member, features ‘Guitar Mike’ chatting with his Shedder pal over a cuppa when he mentions that he saw him limping. Mike tells him about a painful lump he had found above his knee and Charlie advises him not to wait around and get to the doctors sharpish. Mike did just that and it was only a matter of days before Mike was having a cancerous growth removed. 

The real ‘Guitar Mike’, Mike Mowat from Glenrothes Men’s Shed, said: “Many men do not open up about their feelings and end up keeping everything to themselves. Men’s Sheds offer a friendly, safe and welcoming environment to make friends and socialise.  I felt comfortable to share my health problems and talk to Charlie and I am now so glad that I did. I am delighted that my story is being shared – if my experience encourages just one person to seek help before it’s too late then it will not be in vain.”

Scottish actor Billy Mack, who does the voiceover for Charlie in the film, said: “I never really knew much about Men’s Sheds until doing a rehearsed reading of a play by Clare Prenton entitled ‘Men Don’t Talk’. We, as a cast, were taken to a local Shed and introduced to the members and talked with them. As soon as I got home, I looked for my local branch but unfortunately there isn’t one in Stirling as yet. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we have one – they are a great way of building friendships and learning different skills but, above all, a place for people to talk about life and issues that may affect them. All villages, towns and cities should have one!”

The SMSA was formed in 2014 to provide support, information, advice and resources to its Shed Members and 3,000+ Individual Members. Today, there are over 200 open and developing Men’s Sheds groups across Scotland reaching 10,000+ men (aged 18 or over) through the Movement.

Head to the Shed today – click here to find your local Shed today. 

Check out SMSA’s You Tube channel for more videos from the Men’s Sheds Movement in Scotland.