Something we don’t talk about often enough is the mental health and wellbeing of men. There is an unnecessary stigma when it comes to men sharing their feelings, particularly with other men, but Penrith real estate agent, Paul Wallace and friend of 40 years, Kevin Canning put their heads together to find a way for local men to enjoy each other’s company, get in a bit of physical fitness and just shoot the breeze and say whatever is on their mind.

“We were always saying how we need to catch up more often, and then life gets in the way and you never get around to that get together with your mate. Finally, we said let’s just organise a weekly walk with the purpose of inviting whoever you want – you can bring a mate or you can come on your own and make some new friends,” said Paul.

The Penrith Men’s Walk and Talk started from this simple idea, and immediately went viral when the word started to spread about this inclusive group of local men, walking the river walk weekly.

“Our first meeting had 19 men from all walks of life show up, and then a week later we had 23 people. By the third week we had 33, and every week there are different faces. The beauty of it is that you don’t have to commit to coming every week – you can come whenever you want to. You’re always welcome.”

The organisers of Penrith Men’s Walk and Talk said the weekly get together has been celebrated by everyone that has heard about the concept and has seen boys of 15 years up to men of over 70 years tagging along for the activity.

“We talk about sport, we talk about our lives, our interests – whatever really. Even if you don’t feel like talking, come along anyway. It’s a great activity in terms of physical fitness. But the message we want to get out there is that you aren’t alone. There’s lots of us doing the same thing, feeling the same kind of pressure and the opportunity to just catch up and meet some friendly new faces is there,” said Paul.

For men that might be going through a tough time, a member of Like Mind Penrith attends all of the walks and is there to assist with connecting men with the correct mental health care.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/Penrith-mens-walk-and-talk or show up at The Coffee Club at 6pm on Thursday’s to join the walk.

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