Men Only night makes a difference

Samford TerryWhite Chemmart has been reaching out to men in the community to help them take control of their health

AFL legend Alastair Lynch presented to more than 70 men at the award-winning pharmacy’s annual Men’s Health Night, held at the local footy club.

“Commonly, men are less likely to catch up with friends as opposed to women so our annual Men’s Health Night provides an opportunity for ‘mates to catch up’,” says the pharmacy’s owner, Karen Brown.

The night is promoted as a Men’s Night rather than a health initiative, though originally, it was suggested that both men and women could be invited, in the hope that women would bring the men along.

“However having a Men’s Only night encourages men to open up and chat to their mates about how things are going,” Ms Brown says. “Over 70 men attended this year ranging in age from 30 to 80.

“Alastair talked in detail about this struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. His overall message: when things seem overwhelming , break them down into smaller tasks and take control of the things that you can control.

“These sentiments can be applied to any facets of your life.”

While Mr Lynch donated his time, Ms Brown donated $1000 to the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation.

“I was privileged to meet Kathy Kelly at the recent Business Chicks Conference. Kathy lost her son Thomas to alcohol induced violence and her younger son, Stuart to suicide a few years later,” Ms Brown says.

“Kathy allowed me to show a video of their story on the night. The men in the room were visibly touched by how alcohol fueled violence can change the lives of so many in a split second—a powerful message especially at this time of the year. 

“Our pharmacists also conducted free blood pressure checks on the night. Numerous men have come into the pharmacy to follow up on those results. 

“Numerous women have also thanked us for ‘making a difference’ on their partner’s lives as a result of the event.

“One lady commented that her husband went to see his GP after the night as he had been putting it off for too long.”

Men still suffer from the social expectation that they be strong and stoic, and just “get on with it” when times are tough, she says.

“I think it hits home when their see a ‘celebrity’ in their eyes that they think are invincible or immortal admit they have the same issues as the everyday bloke. 

“We had Wally Lewis in 2016 and now Alastair Lynch in 2017—the challenge is finding a draw card in 2018!”

The Samford TerryWhite Chemmart also recently held a Christmas party for those participating in its Carers for Kids initiative, which is a free monthly gathering for parents and carers of children aged four and under.

“We meet at the local church on the first Wednesday of each month,” says Ms Brown.

“We organise a guest speaker each month. Generally speaking, those are local health professionals who donate their time to speak. We have had child health nurse, counsellor, dentist, podiatrist, cccupational therapist, paramedic, Poisons Information Centre and of course myself. Next year we have a GP, Peadiatrician, Dietitian and Speech Pathologist already lined up. 

“We provide morning tea and the church provides toys and volunteers to babysit the kids so the parents and carers can relax and enjoy the talk and morning tea.”

The initiative began after numerous mums told pharmacy staff that they felt isolated in the community.

“It is the community initiative I am most proud of as it makes such a huge difference in our community and the lives of our parents,” says Ms Brown.

“The flow-on effect in our pharmacy is evident too—the program is an extension of our in-store children’s health services which include child health nurse, lactation consultant, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, counsellor and soon to be launched parenting classes.”

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