A recent evaluation of The Shed Online www.theshedonline.org.au
found that it is making a significant difference to the lives of older men.
The Shed Online is Australia’s largest men’s shed. It operates online for men over 55 years to socialise, learn and share skills as well as providing information on health and wellbeing. It now has a membership of nearly 10,000 men.
Beyond Blue CEO Kate Carnell AO said an evaluation of the website was done by reviewing its performance against its objectives, including surveying and interviewing members.
“The evaluation found that the main reasons for men to visit The Shed Online were to seek information on a broad range of issues affecting them, and to join an online social group with other men,” Ms Carnell said.
“The Shed Online achieved its aim in creating an interactive online community for men to connect socially with other men with similar interests.
“Members of The Shed Online receive social support in several ways including access to information, companionship and emotional support.
“This support enhanced the wellbeing of a majority of men, especially those who participated in the discussion forums.
“Forty per cent of survey respondents agree that The Shed Online has increased their awareness about depression and 36 per cent thought their awareness of anxiety had also increased.
“Fifty-four per cent of men also had their awareness raised about other health issues discussed on The Shed Online.
“More than half of the respondents said The Shed Online helped them improve their attitudes relating to depression and anxiety.
“More than 40 per cent of survey participants agreed that they knew ‘how to take action to deal with depression or anxiety’ if they needed to.”
The Shed Online program was developed collaboratively by Beyond Blue, the Australian Men’s Shed Association and funding partner Movember.
Beyond Blue appointed Deloitte Access Economics in 2012 to undertake the evaluation.