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Don’t suffer in silence

August 1 2022 by David Gibbs

Don’t suffer in silence

A major scourge of the last few years has been the mental health toll across NZ but especially in our community. Mental distress is perennially lying beneath the surface and there is barely anyone that I know who hasn’t been impacted by the suicide of someone they love.

The stresses aren’t going away as the concern about Covid subsides, however, if there is one upside to this tragedy it’s that finally, locally and nationally, the problem is being recognised and money his being put into the area.

Prior to the pandemic there was little resource in the Southern Lakes region and less interest in funding solutions. Terrific organisations like Southern Wellbeing Trust, Turn the Corner mental health construction industry group, and MINT Trust in Wanaka, plus many, many others didn’t exist or have the community profile and resources that they have now. Increased publicity, discussion and awareness has helped in making mental health a less taboo subject. It’s less a taboo subject but still it’s difficult, especially for blokes, to reach out, with many still impacted by a potential ‘weakness’ in recognising they might need some help.

The many informal initiatives that have also popped up during this crisis to help people are also cause for celebration. One such group is Queenstown Men’s Book Club. Basically, three local guys; Jase John, Trevor Page and Charles got together in the early days of the pandemic, after some concerning events, such as the loss of mates through suicide, and recognised the need for a safe place for ‘guys’ specifically, to be able to chat about issues and concerns in a like-minded environment.

Queenstown Men’s Book Club is now a monthly informal get-together, the chance for a chat, catchup, and generally help and support each other, over a feed and, if wanted, maybe a beer if you want. Guys particularly can struggle to talk about what’s going on with themselves, which is why groups like this are so critical and why I’m writing about it today. It’s not to take away from any other group or initiative but when Jase John from NZ Shred shared that the group is marking its second-year anniversary of getting together this week, it reminded me of just how amazing our community is at entrepreneurial endeavours, but also helping and support each.

There is a group of 8-16 guys regularly coming along each month. It has been supported by Queenstown Lakes District Council through the Community Wellbeing Initiative and the folks at Sherwood have come onboard with a venue space for each meeting. The group is welcoming of anyone who wants to come along, once or longer term.

Queenstown Men’s Book Club next meeting is at Sherwood, in the Barn, on Thursday, 4 August at 7pm or if you are interested drop them a line on

David Gibbs
Queenstown Media Group

- David Gibbs