READY TO HAVE GO: Organisers (from left to right) Kerrianne Robinson, Casandra Shaw, Shane Ahomiro, Julia Hendersonsome, with some of the men playing in the comp.
READY TO HAVE GO: Organisers (from left to right) Kerrianne Robinson, Casandra Shaw, Shane Ahomiro, Julia Hendersonsome, with some of the men playing in the comp. Contributed

Man up on netball court

A GROUP of Emerald PCYC volunteers has organised a day of netball for men to give them a chance to unleash their skills on the court and "have a laugh” while also shining a light on the importance of creating awareness about men's mental health issues.

The Give it a Go event, which will be held on Saturday, September 21, will feature eight men's teams with 10 players on each.

Event organiser Shane Ahomiro - who is working with fellow organisers and netballers Kerrianne Robinson and Cassandra Shaw - said he hoped the day would create further discussion around men's mental health and highlight services available in the region.

Organisers are also currently keen to hear from mental health service providers in the area who would like to speak or provide information on the day.

Mr Ahomiro said the "pressures of work and home” often weighed down on men who didn't know who to talk to or where to turn for help.

"I think our biggest issue is pride. It's hard to try and open up to other people but when you realise there are people going through same experiences, it gives you the opportunity to push pride out the door and open up,” he said.

"I reckon a lot of men hold their struggles within themselves, and often it's hardest to talk to those who are closest to you.”

He said that letting others in the community know what support was available was vital.

"It's easier to sit there and talk to someone you don't know - you don't feel judged.”

A day of sport, he said, was an ideal avenue for getting friends and families together and offering information to men about caring for their mental health.

"Netball is not necessarily a sport men would to turn to, but when you watch the men in the mixed netball, you can see the enjoyment when they're playing.

"We're just out there having a good time.”

Organiser Kerrianne Robinson said the non-profit event was focused on building confidence and physical and mental health through sport.

"Our goal is to bridge the gap between, mental health and well-being services available in our community.”

Ms Robinson said that because of her own personal experience with mental health issues combined with the "togetherness and camaraderie” created from the mixed netball environment, she felt the sport platform had potential to do the same for men, which motivated her to help create the event.

"The struggle to find services when one is trying to navigate life can be at times daunting but I also feel that men are the unsung heroes. They go to work and deal with their responsibilities to the family dynamic and they can be forgotten about.”

She said she hoped the day would showcase services available as well as provide an event for the community to enjoy.

"Bring your partners, children and friends. You don't have to know how to play - there's no pressure. Just turn up and enjoy it.”

Sponsorships are also being sought for the day - email aho4shaw@outlook. com. Team nominations (minimum age is 15) are due Friday, September 13, - email kerrianne.robinson@ Payment is a gold coin donation.