Shedding light on men: the building healthy men project
Background: Men's Sheds are community-based places where men can enjoy each other's company and where self-worth can be promoted through the development of artistic or manual skills. The Shed helps men to strengthen and maintain social links and continue to feel they are useful members of the community once they have retired from the workforce.
Methods: The Building Healthy Men Project (BHMP) used the Men's Shed model to provide a group of retired and/or unemployed men from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds with opportunities to develop new skills, reduce their social isolation and increase their self-esteem and sense of purpose in an area of relative social disadvantage.
This paper aims to contribute evidence on the types of outcomes for men's health and well-being that can be achieved and measured through their participation in a Men's Shed.
Evaluation: The evaluation used a Participatory Action Research (PAR) process including a variety of data collection tools to examine the project processes and outcomes.
Results: The evaluation showed that as a result of their involvement in the project the men increased their sense of purpose, self worth and self confidence. They also broadened their social networks and increased their skill levels.
Conclusions: The BHMP evaluation highlighted lessons on the implementation and effects of an all-male social support network and the domains of outcome measurement that would be useful in health promotion programs targeting men from culturally diverse backgrounds in a socially disadvantaged area.