Mental Health Insights – How to Help a Friend in Need & How to Look After Your Mental Health!

me&my health up podcast episode #35 – Transcript

Anthony Hartcher 0:00
Welcome to another insightful episode of Me&My Healths Up. The purpose of this podcast is to enhance and enlighten the well being of others. I’m your host Anthony Hartcher. I’m a clinical nutritionist and lifestyle medicine specialist.

In this episode, we will be exploring mental health and we’re gonna bring in the co-founder and programme director of the Banksia project, Jack Jones. The Banksia project is a men’s mental health charity that seeks to destigmatize and support men’s mental health. Welcome, Jack, thanks for joining us.

Jack Jones 0:35
Hi Anthony, thanks very much for having me.

Anthony Hartcher 0:38
So Jack, just tell us a little bit more about you, how you’ve arrived at doing what you’re doing today a bit about your story?

Jack Jones 0:47
Yeah. So I guess, for me a little bit about myself, I really enjoy flipping the script on this a little bit. I like to call myself a good friend, I’m a good family member, I try and support my partner as much as I can, even if I annoy her every now and then we spend our time down in Maroubra.

That’s, that’s me, happy in my safe space. I like to keep pretty physically active and fit, I do a fair bit of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and I go to the gym and train.  In my spare time, I also work for an organisation called The Banksia project and try to get all that set up. So I’m really passionate about, you know, flipping the script on that and saying, I’m all these things plus my role.

Anthony Hartcher 1:33
You’re certainly a great guy, and, you know, our relationships really evolved over the years, you know, through my working with the Banksia project, and really, you know, have enjoyed your support and love your passion that you really, you know, you’ve got so much drive to get out there and support as many men as possible with respect to their mental health and certainly prevent mental illness. So let’s get into, you know, some of this great work that you’re doing with the Banksia project. But I really like the viewers to hear your story around mental health and what got that burning desire really ignited?

Jack Jones 2:19
Yeah. So I guess for me, it’s probably a story that’s not too uncommon. I was that that bloke that seemed to have it all together. You know, early 20s, I had just graduated my master’s degree. I had amazing friends, I was playing elite sport, rugby was my sport of choice. I worked in a pretty good job for a Uni student. And seemed, but most importantly, I was always that guy that was there to support everyone else.

If anyone asked how I was going, I was all good. Yeah, I’m all good. How are you? And that was really, on the outside that’s how I felt. And I think the challenge was that on the inside, I was certainly wasn’t all good. I was really struggling to find any concept of self worth. I didn’t feel happy with myself, I didn’t feel happy with my surroundings. And I guess my whole concept of self worth was just non existent, or based on other people’s gratification. I guess that left me in a really tough space.

I was struggling with major depression, and suicidal ideations for a very long time, and trying to make sense of everything that was going around on around me. You know, I had all the tools. Sorry, I had all the education, I had all the support. I had everything that one could need or want. Unfortunately, I still wasn’t healthy, and I wasn’t happy and that was something that I really struggled with. I spent quite a few years trying to work out why that was and how that was, and all those things and how I could prevent that.

I started coming out the other side of that and just had to stop and ask myself the question, well, if I had all of these resources available if I had everything that I did around me, and still wasn’t healthy or happy, how many other people are struggling? How many other blokes particularly but I’m not fazed on gender, are struggling in the community and, and don’t have the access to the support they need or don’t know how to articulate what they’re going through, which was the challenge that I had and also when, when I did finally work out how to articulate that, the people around me had no idea how to support me, and that often left me feeling worse off than before actually express my struggle.

So I came across the Banksia project as a member of the public. It was a committee of volunteers and I fell in love with the concept of let’s give people the skills they need before crisis, let’s teach the community to navigate challenges safely, and reach out to the people and stay connected and stay supported so that hopefully they’ll go through the same crisis that I went through.

I connected with the founder, Brian Coleman, we worked very closely to help get registered charity status, the status and set up as an organisation.  I was lucky enough to be offered the first job as a paid staff member. I’ve now been doing this for two and a half years and that’s how I guess I’m now the lucky ones, the decision I used to make every day was done I want to make it through the next 24 hours.

And the decision I make every day now is how I can help more people get through their day. So I’m really lucky that I get to do this every day and, and connect with amazing blokes like you and James Union who you had on here a few weeks ago. I truly think I’m the lucky one that gets to do that and call it work.

Anthony Hartcher 5:57
And you’re certainly living what you live before around that giving, it’s always giving, but now you realise the importance of giving back to yourself and that self care. And just in respect to mental health, one of the parts of recovery of mental health is obviously accepting that there is a problem and acknowledging that problem.

At what point you know, because you mentioned that went on for a couple of years of what point did you know, so we’ll need to get some assistance here and reach out and, and express their vulnerability because that’s often what holds men back is saying, Well, you know, I’ve got to put on this image, I’ve got a,  you played first grade ruby in uni, you know, how can a first grade player, the player’s elite sport, you know, be susceptible? So what point did you really reach out during that journey of, you know, wanting to improve your mental health?

Jack Jones 6:56
Look, I think, for me, it was an interesting one, I probably got a softer introduction into the support space, and most, I struggled a lot with performance in rugby, keeping myself on the field, I just could not stop getting injured, which meant I was very close with the medical staff that I had at Sydney Uni, they were phenomenal. I think they identified particularly, there was a sports doctor in that clinic that identified that I probably wasn’t doing too well mentally, as well as physically.

So I did start seeing a sports psych, who probably started picking up that this wasn’t really a performance thing, it had nothing to do with the sports performance. It was more about the mental health and mental illness space. I did keep in contact with that clinician, sporadically, but for me, it was a call that I had to make to lifeline.

You know, in fear of crisis, or being in crisis and wanting to make sure I was kept safe. And that call really spurred me to say, Look, I can’t keep doing what I’m doing. It’s obviously not working and it’s not healthy for me or the people around me. So I need to seek more ongoing and structured support.

Anthony Hartcher 8:14
And this is what I really connect with around the Banksia project is it is a soft introduction. You know you don’t need to have a mental health issue or concern or diagnosis, to be part of the community. And you know, the Banksia project embraces anyone and everyone.

So that’s one of the great things about having the Banksia there is it’s a real soft introduction to supporting men’s mental health without, you know, that stigmatization around it. So share with the listeners what the Banksia project is all about and how they help people.

Jack Jones 8:56
Yeah, yeah, look at the I’m sure you could do this just as much as I could. And as for anyone who’s listening, Anthony has been fundamental in our journey from that startup space and one of our OG facilitated, so thank you for that. But yeah, we’re a community of connection support.

We’re about providing people with the skills they need, the audience they need, and the space they need to talk about their emotions safely. One of the things that we’re really clear to identify is this isn’t just for those who are struggling with their mental health. We actually like to think of it as the gym for the mind, we work so hard to stay physically fit Anthony you more than me, but we work so hard to stay physically fit, but unfortunately, we don’t tend to work hard to stay mentally fit and mentally resilient.

So what we try and do is give spaces, tools, and audiences for blokes particularly to communicate their emotions to learn more about how they can navigate challenges, and most importantly, have that safety net of a team has support around them so that no matter what they’re going through a bit good or bad, there’s a group of blokes that have just got their back and they’ve got that safe space to just say whatever they need to, and not be judged to be supported through that. And, and guided to, health and well being.

The last thing that is really important about the work we do is it’s all clinically designed and clinically supervised. So if any of them while it is peer-based and community-led and community-run, we’re the first to say that we’re not clinicians, and if anyone is experiencing a more complex mental health challenge, that needs to be dealt with by a clinician.

So whilst we’re hoping to prevent the need of clinical intervention if someone is at that stage, we hope to be a really soft introduction to that clinical support that’s, metaphorically, but also literally, if I can book my make the appointment if I can drive him there, if I can see that side and make it really achievable and accessible for him to seek clinical intervention and clinical support.

That’s a really effective role we’ve played as community members. So as I said, it’s that community safe space to stay mentally healthy, and well, but also being that triage to further clinical intervention, if necessary.

Anthony Hartcher 11:09
Just on that point of, you know, providing that assistance and helping be that bridge to, you know, getting that initial help, because, as you know, through first hand experience, that, that bridging that gap is difficult, and you had a softer introduction.

But for those listeners that you know, particularly if they’re female listeners, that you know, have a loved one, whether it be partner, brother, Dad, that’s, you know, they’re concerned about their mental health. How can they approach the subject, you got any tips in terms of how to make it easier to bring the subject up, you know, is a certain environment timing or how have you dealt with this in the past?

Because that’s one of the difficult things is that people often know that they have loved ones around them, but it’s such a difficult subject to bring up.

Jack Jones 12:00
Yeah. Do I have any tips? How long do you have? Yeah, I think that it can be a tough subject, but particularly for those who are listening, and people sort of say, Okay, well, you’re a men’s mental health organisation. So if I’m not a male, or I don’t identify as a male, I don’t need to listen. Well, I think this is a topic that affects everyone, because men in Australia, particularly unhealthy, we’re hurting ourselves, and we’re hurting the people around us.

I think it’s really important that we all play a role in actually keeping men happy and healthy and well. One of the things that I like to identify as, particularly for women in the space that quite often they play the most important role, because a lot of men don’t feel comfortable reaching out for help with other men. When they’re around our mates, when we’re around their colleagues or our peers, if they’re male, we tend to be reserved, and we show that tough, stoic, I can get through anything personality, you know, you can’t break me.

Whereas when we’re a quite often when men are around females, they tend to be more comfortable showing that vulnerable side. And there’s a few reasons that I believe that it is. And one of those, I think we need to give permission for others to be vulnerable. And to do that we need to move on, we’re self.

Now, it’s quite common that females are willing to be vulnerable and willing to say, yep, this annoyed me, or this upset me, or this made me feel really poor and men take note and they go, well, well, she’s just done that and she’s okay.

Whereas I think amongst blokes, we don’t tend to have those conversations as often. So if there is a female in a blokes life, they may be concerned about how they’re going. I think there’s a really important role to play, It’s, you know, identifying some of the signs that might be occurring, saying, you know, I know that this happened at work lately, and I know that’s stressing you out.

I’ve seen you starting to behave in this way, whether it’s withdrawing or becoming very anxious or angry, whatever that symptom is, and saying, are you okay? Or more importantly, how are you? And then let that person just take that conversation wherever they want?

Follow up with more questions, I think as blokes we’re very good at skimming the surface and talking about one thing, the next thing, the next thing and women’s women are really good about asking the next question. Okay, what’s the emotion that lies behind that? Why do you think that occurred? What would you do differently? Who do you think that affected and unpacking that situation more?

So I think, really just giving and most importantly, just providing a non-judgmental space for that individual to talk about whatever they want, and no matter what the answer is, we don’t need to worry about the circumstances. We don’t need to worry about how we relate to that. We just need to deal with how that person’s coping and emotions are expressed and help them express that more. Most importantly, that we can’t be the solution.

If anyone is listening and they and they want to help someone in their community or their family, or whoever it is, the best thing they can do is get them to clinical support, get them to the professionals, and that may start at the Banksia project and that we may then get them to the professional, but it’s you are not the solution. You’re the caregiver, let’s get them to the solution. And the best role you can play as a family and, and as a partner, as a friend is getting to that professional support.

Anthony Hartcher 15:26
Great response Jack, I’ve had experience with this myself, and initially, in the early days, I really just had that awkward struggle-ness to, you know, I won’t come up with the right words or offend them. And often I still today, struggle with my words, and, but what I realised is just, you know, just approaching the subject and bringing it up, they more, get that holistic picture of you or feel of you in the sense that they feel the energy that you really care, and they’re not really, the words don’t matter so much.

I’ve never really worried about rehearsing the lines that I’m going to say, or, you know, ask the person, it’s more just approaching the subject, and obviously, picking the timing, that you want them to be by themselves and feeling comfortable.

But just raising it up, just like you said, in terms of, I’ve noticed these behaviours, you know, it’s just not you, and that is something going on and, and allowing them to speak and you know, that listening intently and, really, if feeling how they’re feeling, I think once you when you get really present with them, they can sense that and I’ll just keep sharing.

Jack Jones 16:38
I think as well, that there are a few things that come to mind when you bring that up. And you completely right, Anthony I don’t think we don’t ever all get the words right.

You know that, as you said, I think the words are the most important part, one of the things I like to emphasise is, it’s not about being there for someone, I think it’s about being there with someone, and just sitting with them, and saying, I don’t care what you’re experiencing, or what you’re going through, but I’m here with you. And I don’t care if it’s for five minutes for five hours, your comfort and me caring for you is the most important thing for me right now, I’m here for the long haul.

I think as you said those softer things like the feel, and the energy, and that showing that you’re being with that person through whatever they’re going through goes a long way they say look, I can help you navigate your problems?

Anthony Hartcher 17:35
Absolutely, it’s fundamental, isn’t it, just having that, and just knowing that there’s people out there that have your back and that I wish you on this journey because when you’re in that state of mind where you’re withdrawing, and you feel that everything’s against you, and you actually don’t feel like there’s anyone that cares, really and essentially, there’s a lot of people that care that they just probably not aware of what you’re going through.

I think once you express that vulnerability and share it with one person, you as the person that’s experiencing, it feels more comfortable with sharing it, because you realise the benefit and just sharing a little bit about what’s going on, you might not share the whole story, and then you get more and more confident in sharing it and you share it with more people, and then eventually that network around you builds.

I remember from a personal experience, when I went through a divorce was I was horrified. You know, I didn’t want to tell anyone, but it was really affecting me it was, sitting with me, it was on my mind all the time. I was, I feel very alone and then I remember just sharing it once. It was well after the separation, and the relief I felt was incredible, I thought wow, this is just therapy, just talking about it, you know, mentioning as opposed to, I was going to functions and giving excuses as to why my wife wasn’t there.

Yeah, so I certainly, you know, learn first hand how important that sharing this part of it you didn’t you know, it doesn’t need to be the whole story, but just getting some something out because it just builds their confidence within that this person is actually listening and yeah, they really concerned about me, and now, therefore, I feel supported by that person and then share it with something because, at the end of the day, we’re humans, we’re here to, you know, support and help one another.

Jack Jones 19:28
I think as well, you know, if you think about that as well, Anthony, I think you’re not unique or alone in that, that feeling of I don’t want to share this but I mean, how many people do we all know that have been divorced and in saying that how many people do we all know that have been divorced and experience tough emotions associated with that?

I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t feel challenged by that. But until we, you know, are willing to reach out and connect with those people, we’re not going to gain the insights or the support that they could provide And that’s something that’s so hard to just get across the line, it’s once you do share, you will have the support, you will have the connection, but it’s you’ve got to take that leap of faith.

On the flip side of that, you know, one of the things that I always bounced back to is when I was struggling, I probably needed a few really clear things from the people around me. But they’re overwhelmed by the conversation, they may not have the tools to navigate it, they may not have the experience or the education.

So some people behave differently to how they normally would, some may engage more somewhere may withdraw, you know, they might say, Okay, I just need to give that person space, whatever it is, but if I’m that person who’s in the challenge, or in the struggle, and I can be really clear with the people around me, I just need this from you.

You know, if I think about a bloke who’s 20 years old, he doesn’t know what to do and probably withdraws from the conversation. Whereas if I was to say to him, mate, I just need you to text me once a week saying, how are you? Are you doing okay? This week, he’ll go, shit, all the rest is just noise doesn’t matter. This is all I need to focus on. If we are that person who’s in the struggle, or in the challenge, and you may be listening, try and be clear with the people around you about what you need from them.

And then hopefully, that will make their job easier, and also make you feel better with them as well.

Anthony Hartcher 21:22
It really is that universal law, we really need to put out what we want in order to receive. If it’s not put out there, then you know, won’t come you won’t come to us.

So yeah, I think the more we put it out there, the more we’re going to receive what we want. So if this person wants more and more support, then they will get more and more support by just sharing that. So is there anything else you wanted to add to that?

Jack Jones 21:51
Oh, look at that. Look, I think the only other thing I’d say is, this is what we’ve covered a lot on is about if you are that person in the struggle. And one of the things that that Banksia is all about is let’s deal with those people before the struggle.

So they’ve already got the support network in place, they already have vulnerable conversations, and they’re comfortable doing so they already know what their self care looks like, and what their triggers may look like. And they know who’s there to help them through that. And putting all these things in place in a proactive way, so that they’re getting mentally resilient.

Rather than waiting for the challenge to occur, being in the bottom of that slump and going, how do I get myself out? Hopefully, we can avoid getting that slump altogether, which is what we’re all about you and I in their different ways, and also when we come together at Banksia.

Anthony Hartcher 22:40
Absolutely, Jack. And it’s a very good point, let’s shift to the prevention side of things. And you know, you mentioned the Banksia, yours, is there in that preventative space in terms of providing men that supportive community?

In addition to that, what do you recommend all the Banksia you recommends, that people do in order to maintain that good state of mind that mental gym so what is it that people can do on an everyday basis? To really stay mind fit, so to speak?

Jack Jones 23:11
Yeah, great question. One of the things that I am really clear about is we all have mental health. We all have mental health, we don’t all have a mental illness, but we do all have mental health.

We need to invest in that health daily to stay healthy and stay happy. So for me, rather than focusing on you know, what can I do in six weeks? It’s what can I do every day? What are the habits and routines that I can create that make a healthy lifestyle and keep me well? And I think what’s important to define is that what keeps me well is going to be different to what you what keeps you well, Anthony, or whoever’s listening, so we need to spend time actually identifying and articulating what they are to ourselves.

For me, personally, I really focus on you know, physical, wellness, I think for me, it all, it all comes to capacity. You know, challenges are inevitable for all of us. And we’re all going to have things that pop up and we go I did not expect that. How am I going to get through it. But if we’re not giving ourselves I’m not leaving any capacity for those challenges that can really derail us.

Whereas if we’re doing things that we feel comfortable with on a day to day basis, we leave ourselves with the capacity to actually deal with those challenges really, effectively. We’ve got the bandwidth, we’ve got the physical health, we’ve got the mental health, just go well, that’s it’s not easy, but I’ve got a solution and I can actually act on that. So making sure that we have the capacity to deal with the challenges that are inevitable.

For me, there’s a few ways that I’ve managed my capacity and its balance. It’s keeping my physical health. Well, that’s something that I find if my physical health is deteriorating, or I’m not investing in it. I notice and the people around me notice often Catherine, my partner will say stop talking, go to the gym, come back and talk to me after that. You know, it seems like that but then also, I’m sure, as you may have heard of nutrition can have a big impact on our mental health. I don’t know if you know that Anthony.

A whole range of things that I noticed that I start eating that or perhaps I might have a few drinks on the weekend, it affects my mental health. But also, I think something that probably doesn’t get enough attention is sleep, I think sleep is so for me, it’s my go to, I need a good eight hours, if I don’t get that everyone will know about it. The smaller routines that we can implement that keep us well, so that when these challenges pop up, we’ve got the bandwidth and the clarity to deal with it safely.

Anthony Hartcher 25:43
Yeah, I love how you mentioned that capacity. Because, you know, we’ve all got a threshold, and, you know, I guess that threshold is we want to keep well under that and, you know, in order to keep well under our threshold, which is, as you said, different for everyone.

When we burst out, particularly men sort of express a frustration or, you know, things aren’t going well through anger you know, in order to avoid that threshold, it’s like Catherine says, you’re on the verge, go to the gym or get out go for a run. So I like that terminology, I think is great, because that  nutrition really fits in with that, just keeping well below the threshold by eating well, you mentioned sleep, and I totally agree with you sleep is massive.

You know, in the Western world, we’re all, you know, generally not getting enough sleep, and 40% the stats here the stats 40% are sleep deprived. And that’s those that report it right. So there’s plenty of people out there, that poor sleep goes unreported so that’s the annual, that one’s mentioning to their GP. But that’s huge, you know, 40%, then, you know, you look at the mental health, we know that, it’s one in one in four, or one in five that will experience a mental health concern over their lifetime.

And there’s, there’s certainly so many studies that link sleeping and poor sleep, so like sleep deprived, severe chronic sleep, you know, sleep deprivation for long periods of time, is directly associated with poor mental health outcomes, whether it be heightened anxiety, and the heightened anxieties that over the threshold, as you mentioned,  in depression, so, and then, it just flows on, from that sleep, it really flows on to nutrition.

When you’re sleep deprived, you don’t eat well, you over caffeinated, it just compounds. So, yeah, I think you’re touched on some, you know, real fundamental areas where we can support our self on a regular basis in terms of good habits.

What do you do around because, you know, you mentioned and throughout, we’ve mentioned the importance of human connection. It’s, you know, it’s not just going out and partying with your mates, right. So, you know, define what’s important around human connection?

And, and how do we get more of that? Or we actually, how do you schedule it into your day? You know, this, because we are talking that deeper level of human connection, not that you haven’t been able to talk the 40. And, you know, we have a beer and all that sort of stuff. It’s more than that deeper conversation that we have with people?

Jack Jones 28:31
Yeah, look, I think for me, call it lucky call unlucky. When I went through some pretty severe challenges, it meant that I had to redefine and reassess alone my relationships.

So that a lot of my relationships now the people around me know what I’ve gone through and they now know that they’re part of my support network. You know, and we don’t need to have, some people may have hundreds of people that are part of their immediate circle, I called the circle. Some they have two, you know, it doesn’t matter how big that is, but making sure that we’ve got our own safe spaces.

When I went through the challenges, I went through, the people around me now know that that’s a reality that I may face, you know, and if I need to have that conversation, they know they’re my people for that. And so I make sure that I’ve got my people have got those safe relationships and safe spaces that no matter what it was, I can call them up.

It doesn’t matter if I’ve spoken to them once a day or once a week or once a year. I could call them up and say, this is one of those times that we’ve spoken about before. But for those people who I would say luckily, or maybe a feeling well establish your safe spaces now.

Go and tell those people you know what, if I was to be struggling, you’re one of the people I’d call and these are some of the things that pop up in my life that can sometimes stress me out. And most importantly, these are the things that make me feel better.

So if I can make that proactive call and I can call someone and say, Look, this is one of the times we spoke about, I am starting to feel challenged, and I’m starting to behave in this way. They can go, well, let’s, let’s go, let’s do the right things that help you feel better.

For me, it’s really about having those authentic connections and conversations where there’s no judgment. And I think my partner is, she’s my rock, she’s the one that I can just say, whatever it is, and, you know, there’ll be no judgment, and she’ll, she’ll go, yep. Okay, how do we, you know, not even solve, just listen.

And I think, finding those people, finding them and letting them know they are those people and, and as I said, there may be, you may have 100, you may have two, it doesn’t matter, but make sure you’ve got those people.

Most importantly, if you don’t come to the Banksia project, that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re providing that safe space, we’re providing that support, and making you feel comfortable actually using it. Because we all have people around us, we all have people that are going I want to support I’m here to support. But we don’t always utilise that we don’t always know-how and they don’t always know how to support effectively.

So come to us, find your safe space, find your team that can be your support, hopefully, we can also guide you to creating new safe spaces and safe networks around you in your existing relationships as well.

Anthony Hartcher 31:24
So how can people contact Banksia ?

Jack Jones 31:28
Very easily. We’re all over the internet, we try and be very active on social media. But our website is or the Banksia project on Facebook and Instagram, we have a few different options available where we have amazing community members like yourself, we put through some training and we say, we want you to own this and we want you to support your community, we’ll give you all the guidance you need, we’ll give you the structure, we’ll give you the frameworks.

And most importantly, we’ll give you the safety of clinical support. But you’re the champion of this. And that makes it relevant when we’re going to work with different community groups or different locations or whether it’s rural towns, we’re giving the tools to them, we’re just supporting them and guiding them to do so. Or alternatively, just come and be a participant come and find out what it’s all about come and find your safe space. And really get mentally fit, it’s a gym for the mind to get mentally fit and healthy and resilient.

Give yourself the capacity to deal with more turbulence as it comes up. And it will we say it’s a two hour commitment a month, a two hour growth room is what we call them. And a two hour commitment provides ample amounts of hours on either side of that because you’ve given yourself you know, health and well-being and mental clarity, which isn’t always easy to find.

Anthony Hartcher 32:53
Absolutely Jack and I can certainly vouch for that first hand, having you know, been the facilitator of a growth room in the Eastern suburbs and just, you know, seeing the men when they first come in the room to where they are, a couple of years after continually, consistently coming to the growth. I think that’s a key thing is that it’s not just a turn up once and things are going to improve.

It’s very much that you hear it very much that consistency like you do when you’re going to the gym, it’s consistency, where you’re going to get the results consistently making the time and effort which is only two hours a month to go along to you know, growth room and the growth will happen.

I’ve seen men transform themselves. I personally got transformation out of it. It’s absolutely incredible. So I thoroughly recommend,  anyone, listening, that if you know someone that could benefit from the Banksia, please share this podcast with them.

Certainly, direct them to the Banksia website or Facebook? And, and, you know, go along with them. If you can’t go with them, and you’re concerned about how can I get my loved one to the growth room connect with Jack or James Younan who was also on the podcast and they will you know, let you know what’s some strategies that you can apply to help this person get into the room once they’re in the room. The magic unfolds. So it’s, it’s absolutely incredible.

Jack Jones 34:31
I was just gonna say, sorry, I don’t want to do a James Younan on you and not stop talking. Can’t wait for him to hear that. But I think as well, you know, you’re the Bondi Junction growth room, which started almost four years ago now. It’s still that group still supports each other.

I heard people from different groups as well you know, things like that. I wouldn’t be getting married to my wife this weekend if it wasn’t for the support this group’s given me over the years, or I wouldn’t be getting this job promotion, or who knows where I would be if it wasn’t for the support and the guidance and the comfort of this group. And, you know, you can’t, you can’t put a price or a time on that.

All programmes are entirely free, just to be clear, but you know, giving up two hours once a month, to provide that support for others, while also getting support yourself is phenomenal. I personally, as you said, I’ve seen the growth of so many men who don’t have any mental health problems, or some do.

And, you know, I’ve seen that growth eventually, I’ve also been lucky enough to experience it myself. And it’s just phenomenal. So for anyone who is listening, I can’t recommend it enough, give yourself two hours a month and, and really invest in yourself. Most importantly, don’t get involved.

Anthony Hartcher 35:56
And I agree with you, Jack, in terms of building, you know, if you don’t have those key support members, you mentioned earlier, the Banksia is phenomenal in terms of embedding deep relationships, people that care, that support you have your back, and you know, I say many strong relationships formed through the growth rooms. So yeah, totally agree.

It’s, you’ll get some lifelong connections and, you know, members that, you know, came into the Banksia, with, you know, severe mental health concerns are now facilitators because they’ve evolved and grown so much through the process that they now want to give back to the community so now they facilitate rooms. So it’s just beautiful to see that growth of people, where they’ve come from and where they are today, it’s just phenomenal. So, so simple in terms of the model in terms of how it operates. It’s it, but it’s so impacting.

So thanks, Jack, for sharing your experience, your knowledge. And if, as I suggested listeners, if you know of anyone that could really benefit, suggest you recommend them listening to this podcast, I hear Jack firsthand, about Banksia projects, you know, provide us some great tips today in terms of how you can increase your capacity, increase your resilience, and, you know, prevent mental health concern down the track by that ongoing investment into your mental gym.

Please, like and share and get it get the word out there. We want as many people to hear about the Banksia project, it’s a great cause it’s, it’s a charitable cause, you know, if you’re not in a position to donate your time and support, can also donate money to support the growth of the banks here.

It’s certainly evolved, there’s so many rooms happening over in New South Wales within Sydney now into the country. Jack, have you moved into state yet?

Jack Jones 38:02
We had, so we had programmes running in Canberra. And we’ve COVID we obviously, we went digital. So we’ve now got programmes, where we’re training volunteers from all across the country virtually.

And we’re running programmes virtually across the country as well, which, you know, we’ve got people from MCI down to Adelaide, we’ve got Melbourne, Brisbane, it’s just phenomenal. And we’re really excited to be able to provide support for offices across the country, no matter their location.

But for those volunteers as well, if all we need is two volunteers from a community to put their hand up and, and we can set up a face-to-face growth room in that area as well. So you know, it’s an amazing place that we’re at, we’re also working with some really major community organisations, corporate organisations, sports teams, all the above, to provide support. And really, you know, for us, it’s not about, you know, how big and how the Empire it’s about how many men we can support and how many healthier fathers and sons and brothers, keys, mates, colleagues, whatever it is, that we can create, and we can help and, therefore create healthier communities, that’s, that’s the whole goal.

Anthony Hartcher 39:18
Making a huge positive difference in a world that’s struggling at present with mental health so yeah, get behind supporting the Banksia project, and stay tuned for more insightful episodes of Me&My Healths Up.

Thanks, Jack.

Jack Jones 39:33
Thanks, Anthony.

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