The Country Universities Centre (CUC) at Parkes hosted a community morning tea to mark and celebrate Men's Health Week on June 17.
Nearly 30 community members attended the morning tea, including representatives from Northparkes Mines, Parkes Shire Council, AWN Langlands Hanlon, Parkes Boars RUFC, Eastcoast Supplements and Safe Haven Parkes.
The CUC is part of the Regional Universities Centre Program, providing higher education by giving free access to local students to high-speed internet, dual-screen workstations, free printing, and wrap-around academic and wellbeing support.
"At CUC Parkes, 30 per cent of our registered students identify as male, and it is important that they feel safe in having an open dialogue around their wellbeing," CUC manager Jacob Cass said.
"We offer students wrap-around support, which means supporting their wellbeing with stress management tools and having an open-door policy, in addition to academic support.
"Men's Health Week is important. We need to open up more dialogue about men's health and remove the stigma around men being open about how they feel."
Jacob addressed the group and shared his struggles with his well being.
"When I was 25, I hit a wall; I was depressed, weighed 180kg and was moving from job to job without a career ahead of me," he said.
"It was then that I decided I needed to change what I was doing. I joined a gym, made monthly appointments with my GP, cut sugars and started working towards a career in the community and education sector.
"Still, it all started because I started conversing with my friends and family about my health.
"It was scary at first, but the truth was that these were conversations they had tried to have, and I was finally ready."
Men's Health Week is celebrated in the middle of June each year and promotes making small changes today that can flow onto a healthier tomorrow.
Book a check-up with your GP, drink more water, move a little more and talk with those around you.
"If there is one message I'd like to see people take away from Men's Health Week, it's that there is never a perfect time to have the conversations around our health, but they are so important, and a conversation could save a life," Jacob said.
CUC Parkes offers free support to students studying at any university across Australia. If you would like to learn more about the CUC, contact Jacob on 0409 119 933.
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