A FORMER New Zealand infantry soldier is opening up about his feelings, smashing down mental health barriers for men.
Manward is the forward-thinking initiative cooked up by David Okeby about 12 months ago, where young to middle-age men get together once a month for a workout and chat around a barbecue.
It’s just officially been recognised as a non-for-profit organisation and David has big plans to expand the unique idea Australia-wide.
The 35-year-old gym owner said the idea stemmed from his own personal need for male companionship.
“I felt like I was going from work to home and back to work. As good as it is, I was looking for a connection with a bunch of mates to talk about whatever,” he said.
“I was looking for a men’s group to join, but the only thing I found was Men’s Shed – with all respect to them, it’s aimed at an older demographic – and there was nothing for my
“One of my (gym) members said ‘just make your own one built around fitness’, and it just grew organically.”
Workouts can be catered to blokes of all abilities, from beginners to seasoned lifters, while current members vary in age from their 20s to 50s.
Each catch up is centred around a theme, such as last week’s session which focused on Men’s Health Week.
“We basically open the floor to discussion; if anyone wants to open about deeper stuff, they have the ability, but otherwise, it’s just guys chatting around barbecue,” he said.
“There’s no obligation to talk – no one’s forced – sometimes people just listen and get what they need.
“We’re tackling obesity and mental and emotional problems, because seems to be a link to men and suicide and our goal to reduce that rate.”
Now that Manward is a non-for-profit, David can apply for government grants and will look to expand the group.
Phone David on 0477 436 769 for more information or visit Onward Fitness at 3/2 Machinery Pd, Caboolture.
Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you are suffering from mental health issues.
This piece by Luke Simmonds was first seen on ‘Caboolture News‘ June 15 2017.