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Helping the blokes out . . . Oamaru Men's Group co-creators Bill Young (left) and Dugal Armour are encouraging men in the community to speak up. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

A discussion group dedicated to helping men throughout the Waitaki district has been established.

The Oamaru Men’s Group, the brainchild of Dugal Armour and Bill Young, recently had its first meeting.

The idea for a men’s group was conceived after they attended a men’s hui run by Safer Waitaki.

While at the hui, both men met survivors of sexual abuse, which prompted them to create a group that could allow men to talk about personal issues they were facing.

Mr Armour hoped the group could attract men who had experienced similar issues throughout their lives.

“What we hope to do is to reach out to a really broad base of men,” he said.

The group’s first meeting was held at the Union Cricket Club’s rooms at King George Park.

There was no formal membership process and anyone was welcome to join.

“It’s open to all men – race, religion, whatever,” Mr Armour said.

He also serves as the senior manager of the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust.

“The problem is, sadly, for men there’s this sort of feeling that if you’ve got problems, you’re sort of weak or you’re not coping.

“That’s absolutely not true.

“The great thing is when you actually start talking, you realise what people are holding in.”

Mr Young also believed it was important to get men the help they needed.

“We want to encompass all men with whatever problems men face,” he said.

“We want to try and give them some direction and help in sorting some issues out.

“The great thing is that we’re actually talking about [the problems] now. Ten years ago, we wouldn’t have talked about half the stuff that we’re talking about.

“We’re encouraging men to come forward and be part of the broader discussion on solutions.”

Anyone interested in the Oamaru Men’s Group can contact Dugal Armour (021106-4598) or Bill Young (021501-573).