05 February 2020
(Community Recognition Statement, 5 February 2020, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
On behalf of the Sydney Electorate I rise to acknowledge support program The Men's Table founded by David Pointon and Ben Hughes. The Men's Table facilitates peer-led groups of up to 12 men coming together to learn and connect through monthly dinner meetings to share feelings and experiences. This is an innovative suicide prevention strategy, reducing loneliness and isolation while encouraging long-term relationships and a sense of belonging.
Table members come from all sorts of backgrounds, including recently separated or divorced men, young fathers and retirees, with a common interest in getting support and camaraderie. There are more than 15 tables and 150 men meeting around the country, with more planned. There's an official launch celebration with entertainment and speakers in February. Many men have learned not to express feelings or show weakness and The Men's Table provides an avenue for men to connect and share with others in a safe space. A partnership with the National Mental Health Commission will evaluate the program. I thank David and Ben for their efforts to build stronger communities and support men in need.