How you can help battle the black dog by hosting a BBQ
THERE’S nothing better than celebrating or catching up with friends and family over a classic Aussie BBQ and one man has used the gathering as a tool to help men’s mental health.
Terry Cornick founded Mr. Perfect, a grassroots charity that runs free BBQs for men across the country to reduce isolation and create community and connection.
With events held across the country, Mr Cornick is now looking for BBQ hosts across Bundaberg.
The idea came to Mr Cornick when he shared some of his mental challenges with his mates in the pub and they mentioned that they too had their own issues.
“The only options I was given were clinical, there wasn’t a lot out there that was non-clinical,” he said.
“So we put an ad up on Gumtree and said lets have people come together for a BBQ and have a chat and a free feed and create a community,” he said.
“We held our first BBQ in January 2016 and now have about 35 running around the country.”
Mr Cornick is now looking to expand Mr. Perfect to regional areas including Bundaberg.
“In my day job I work in health care along side doctors and mental health professionals,” he said.
“It’s become more than apparent that we think in the cities we don’t have these sorts of social outlets for men, but in regional areas it’s actually worse,” he said.
“Doctors told me sometimes they had no other option to offer someone but come back see me or medication sometimes there’s massive waitlists for psychologists or mental health professionals in the regional areas.
“The other reason being, one of our major sponsors is a life insurance company in Sydney and they shared some the postcode data of where they get the most claims and there was quite a chunk in Queensland and we realised we didn’t have BBQs in those areas, so we thought we’d set some up there.”
Mr Cornick said their BBQs usually see men aged between 30 and 60 attend.
“We get guys from all demographics … they’ve said they really enjoy the fact they can come along and have a discussion with like-minded people and get out in the sun for a couple of hours and escape the isolation of being inside the house,” he said.
“We’ve found the BBQ itself works a conduit for conversation because men tend to clam up and find the one-on-one room situation uncomfortable.
“It’s not confronting, it’s very casual and any one can leave and come and go as they want.”
While the BBQs haven’t been able to happen during the covid period, Mr Cornick has taken things virtual.
On the Mr. Perfect website a guide of services available to men has been publish and they’ve even had video BBQs.
Mr Cornick has also hosted weekly show where he speaks with mental health professionals.
He said it was important for people to open up instead of bottling things inside.
“I experienced it myself and I’m trying to tell people not to do what I did, don’t wait for a few years and let it boil up to a potentially dangerous point,” he said.
For more information on the charity or to find or host a BBQ visit the Mr. Perfect website.