Mental illness does not discriminate. It is something which affects the young and old, men and women, and people of all races and religions. If left unchecked, it can have severe ramifications on a person’s life.
Confronting those issues can be challenging, and admitting there is a problem can often be particularly difficult for men. Through charity organisations such as Mr Perfect, run by Terry Cornick, some Australian men are slowly beginning to understand that they do not have to suffer in silence, or alone.
Mr Perfect was started as a group for guys to get together in early 2016. It was inspired by Terry’s experiences while attempting to access help for his mental challenges.
“I have had a lifetime of [challenges] and finally went to the GP at 30, and the only answer he had was medication,” Terry explains.
“We started thinking along the lines that there must be some form of social outlet we can offer. For us playing soccer was our outlet, so we arranged to do a couple of hours kick around one weekend and that morphed into the barbecues. Now have 23 across Australia and we would love to do more in regional areas and more in Queensland as well.”
To continue to grow and provide a support network for those in need, Mr Perfect needs volunteers to donate a couple of hours each month.
“Essentially the host will buy all of the food and drink beforehand – but we reimburse all of that – and then they must be willing to do some cooking on the BBQ,” says Terry.
“They might already know people there they are friends with but they must have a chat with everyone and introduce everyone where possible – there might be a few people who are unsociable so they need to identify that and try to get everyone involved. After the BBQ we like them to let us know any stories, in particular, that stand out.”
While the percentage of people who acknowledge they are affected by mental illness is rising, there is still a worrying number of sufferers who elect to deal with it alone. Be it fear of rejection, ridicule or merely embarrassment, Terry offers some helpful words for the silently suffering.
“There are so many people in similar scenarios that you may not be aware of,” he pleaded. “They’re not there to offer advice or solve all of your problems, but they will listen.”
To enquire about being a Mr Perfect BBQ host for only a couple of hours per month please contact Terry Cornick on 0406 641 984.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns, please seek immediate attention on one of Australia’s 24 hours services.
Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counseling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.