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Heather Gordon, Trish Curnow (Illustrator)
Andamooka Bill and the Lights on the Hill.pdf
Andamooka Bill and the Lights on the Hill describes men's relationships to each other in an Australian outback opal town. The banter, the grit, the gossip, the toughness and underneath it all, the informal supports that enable the men to front up each morning for an iced coffee and a chat about the weather and the news. Their camaraderie belies their rough appearance and speech.
With a range of stressors influencing depression and anxiety, the incidence rate among men in rural and remote areas is significantly higher than the general population. Due to the isolation and difficulty accessing appropriate services, the need for a strong social network becomes more apparent as a means to reduce stigma and build resilience. The Bonnet Club members are informally taking action against depression, anxiety and suicide. Even if that's not their agenda."
RFDS Remote Area Nurse, Andamooka
(May 2017 - February 2019)
"The Bonnet Club helps blokes take care of what's under their hoods, even though they don't know they're mental health mechanics."
Dr Jen Cleary
CEO Centacare Catholic Country SA
Member of SEGRA (Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia) National Steering Committee, SACOSS Policy Advisory Council and the TAFESA Board
"This delightful little story of Andamooka Bill and the Bonnet Club is a fitting metaphor the Men's Shed movement around Australia reflects. Combined with some terrific illustrations depicting the various characters, street names and locations, the story tells of blokes catching up with each other to share stories and support each other to 'work things out'.
Men's mental health can be a difficult route to navigate given that most men don't like to acknowledge issues around anxiety, depression or suicidal ideation. Whilst many men may perceive these as a 'weakness', acknowledging them is actually a strength. They are a common phenomenon in cultures throughout communities around the planet.
Men accessing support services when they are available (more difficult in regional and remote areas) can be a challenge. Advances in digital technology are making these services more accessible each and every day. Men and boys accessing services when they are available can be a challenge... albeit one worth persevering."
M.A. B. Soc. Sci. Dip. Teach J.P MAPS
Alice Springs NT