Mark Freeman speaks about mental health and the benefits of Salamander Bays’ Men’s Shed

Mark Freeman outside his home.  Photo by Mandy ELLIS
Mark Freeman outside his home. Photo by Mandy ELLIS

 

ONE Founding member of Salamander Bays’ Men’s Shed, talks about the struggles of dealing with mental health, weight gain and where to from here.

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Twenty years ago, mental health was not a topic people talked about, less so for men.

Whilst folk are more open about this today, there remains so much stigma which prevents people seeking the help they need.

Mark Freeman of Nelson Bay, was diagnosed twenty years ago with depression, has undergone many counselling sessions, was medicated and yet he still didn’t feel quite right.

“I knew something was not right, but I was unable to define the feeling so I didn’t know where to get help from, so I didn’t pursue it, where could I go if I couldn’t describe how I was feeling.”

During a session with a psychologist it was discovered Mark had been suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and whilst this was somewhat of a surprise, Mark said, “It was another piece of the jigsaw falling into place.”

“Being diagnosed with depression and then much later PTSD, this was the start of my journey going forward.”

Being upfront with members of the Men’s Shed, Mark was pleasantly surprised by offers of support and a listening ear if needed.

Mark told News Of The Area, “The Men’s Shed has given me a purpose, I wouldn’t have done so well without their support.”

The lack of nice clothing for larger men added to the depression, Mark said, “Finding a store, where I could buy, nice, comfortable and flattering clothing meant so much, it restored some of my dignity.”

Mark suggested if a male, in particular, is looking for social engagement, contact Port Stephens Peninsular woodwork group, Men’s Shed, Probus, Rotary or a Lions group.

“There is no need to be socially isolated,” Mark said.

 

By Mandy ELLIS

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