Residents encouraged to start monthly BBQs to support men’s health

By Jared Prestwidge

EVERYONE knows someone who appears to have every facet of their life in perfect order.

But what if they’re not okay?

What if behind your son’s, husband’s or brother’s friendly smile was a man crying out for help?

Sometimes the stresses of day-to-day life can be too much to bear.

Sometimes all you need is someone to talk to.

Terry Cornick, a healthcare consultant from Sydney, found himself at a crossroads three years ago.

He had the perfect life — a great job, beautiful wife and busy social life.

His friends would call him Mr Perfect.

But behind that façade was a man crippled by a lifetime of mental illness.

So, one day he decided to do something about it.

He started up a grassroots charity called Mr Perfect, which works to address the men’s mental health crisis.

Described as “mental health’s mate”, it encourages connection and community in a supportive and inclusive environment, largely through monthly meet-up barbecues.

The format is simple, informal and completely inclusive, offering a chance to get out of the house and into the sun to socialise with a supportive community.

“I hear stories of men who just don’t have any outlet once they get married, have kids and sign a mortgage,” Terry said.

“Mr Perfect has gotten bigger and bigger over the years and become about community and avoiding isolation as well.

“Come along and you will be surprised by how many people want to help. There will be a lot of people in the same boat you are.”

The organisation has close to 30 active events across the country and is now focused on covering rural and regional areas that don’t offer the same mental health support as the bigger cities.

Mr Perfect launched a monthly barbecue in Echuca in July and Terry said it is one of their most popular.

“There’s barely an opportunity in rural areas to see a psychologist, councillor or similar on short notice, which is scary,” he said.

“I think people are doing it tough out there economy-wise as well.

“It’s no surprise that our most attended are the more regional and rural ones.”

If you are interested in hosting a Mr Perfect barbecue in your community, email [email protected]