RECEIVING advice from your mates can make a difference in men’s health, according to the coordinator of a pilot education program.
The Mate to Mate Project peer education program will target older men to let them know what aged and community services are available in their region.
Orange will be one of the first areas in the state to offer the Mate to Mate Project, run by the Council on the Ageing (COTA).
Volunteers are being sought to become peer educators.
Mate to Mate project coordinator Christopher Smith said the program would provide men with the information they needed from people they felt comfortable with.
Peer educators will be trained to provide information on services available through Home and Community Care (HACC) services.
“It gives men information on HACC services provided ... older men like to receive information from their peer groups,” he said.
“We are looking to use the spirit of community that exists here to get information to older men, that will enable them to remain or improve their independence into older age.”
Orange Men’s Shed chairman Hugh Laird says while they already run men’s health sessions in their club, Mate to Mate will be a “good supplement”.
Mr Laird said the men’s shed members were aged up to 85 and more information on HACC services available would be a benefit.
“It will be arming them with the knowledge before they have to actually use it,” he said.
University of Western Sydney Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre project officer Anthony Brown said research showed men wanted health advice but needed services to target them directly in order for them to ask for help.
He said marketing material did not often depict active men and advertising on community notice boards didn’t work.
“The problem is the providers that are there for the men have dropped the ball,” he said.
Mr Brown says men listen to other men, and having peer educators talking to men’s groups is an efficient way to spread men’s health messages.
People wishing to volunteer for the Mate to Mate Project should contact Christopher Smith at COTA NSW on 9286 3868.