Whenever natural disasters occur, the impact can be felt for a long time after the event. Even after streets are cleared, trees are removed from driveways, and homes are rebuilt, the harm caused by life-altering tragedies can live on.
It’s the lasting impact caused by recent floods in Lismore that is the focus of the latest initiative from Trevor Lowder, founder of Craft Beer Coopery, a subscription service set up to encourage more men to engage in conversations about mental wellbeing.
“There are immediate needs including housing and money, but now some of those have been addressed the mental health issues from going through that experience stays around,” he told The Crafty Pint.
The Craft Beer Coopery works by sending out packs made up beers, snacks and conversation starters that are designed to be shared by mates. Trevor had personal reasons for launching the venture, which you can read about here, and is one of many men who went years without speaking about his own challenges with mental health, or even understanding how to recognise them.
When it comes to supporting people in Lismore, Trevor is sending ten of his Recovery Convo Crates to the regional city and asking for others to donate a further 40 so they can be given to those in need. The idea arose while speaking to friends in Lismore; in particular, it was while chatting to his mate David Glendinning, a doctor at a couple of local GP clinics.
“This is a great way to do it with someone in the local community,” Trevor says. “[David] works with first responders, obviously, and is working with other doctors to make sure they can get [the crates] to people in the community who are really struggling.”
Already, Trevor says there's been support from Craft Beer Coopery’s regular subscribers, with one of their main aims with these crates – as with any of their boxes – to make sure people understand the beer isn't really the point.
“It’s not about handing out beers, it’s about creating the environment where people talk about how they’re feeling,” he says.
“The boxes are the way they are to try and ensure people share them together.”
The need to support men facing mental health challenges in regional areas has been a growing focus for Craft Beer Coopery recently, with Trevor pointing out that the ratio of mental health support workers to people in rural areas can be quite startling.
“There’s just not the support in regional areas that we have in Sydney,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong, there is nowhere near enough support in the cities, but it’s even worse in the country.”
After reflecting on the issue of mental health support in rural areas, he took Craft Beer Coopery on the road to Bathurst last month for a mental health and box-packing night attended by around 90 men, which was supported by Badlands and Pioneer Brewing. His monthly box-packing nights in Sydney typically draw around 25 people where, along with filling orders, they use the time to make sure everyone is doing OK.
When someone in Bathurst learnt about the packaging nights and suggested they set up one in regional NSW, they decided to formalise the event to ensure people had a chance to listen to each other and talk about their wellbeing.
“It was very, 'If you build it, they will come.' We had some pretty important conversations on the night and they’ve had a lot of important ones since,” Trevor says.
“The most powerful way to get conversations going is one-on-one between mates and then they talk to mates – you can change the world a beer and an ear at the time.”
If you'd like to send a Recovery Convo Crate to Lismore, you can order one here.
For more information or support surrounding mental health issues, you can contact:
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Or visit R U OK?