Mo chat brings men’s mental health to fore

Tamra CarrMidwest Times
Greenough Regional Prison officer Mitchell in front of the Narngulu site sporting a fake moustache.
Camera IconGreenough Regional Prison officer Mitchell in front of the Narngulu site sporting a fake moustache. Credit: Tamra Carr The Geraldton Guardian

Mr Mitchell’s magic moustache has had a busy month.

It’s helped the WA Prison Officers’ Union win the first Australasian Movember challenge and raise $12,247 for the men’s health charity. And, on its time off, it’s helped start a difficult conversation between the Greenough Regional Prison officer and a stranger. “He hadn’t heard of Movember and it turned out he was battling his own demons,” Mr Mitchell, pictured, said.

“I didn’t try to fix his problems, I just listened and told him there were plenty of organisations out there to which he could turn.”

Mr Mitchell met this stranger when he commented on the prison officer’s moustache, while flying to South Australia on holiday.

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Once the plane landed, Mr Mitchell spent some time with the man and his family, dubbing it a “great feeling” to know he had been able to help.

Corrective Services Commissioner Tony Hassall gave a nod to Mr Mitchell and those like him who raised funds last month. “When the union first approached me to allow our facial hair policy to be varied for Movember I did not hesitate,” Mr Hassall said.

“We know that men can tend to ignore warning signs of health issues, be they mental or physical, and I encourage all our officers to reach out to colleagues who may be in distress, or appearing unwell.”

Senior officer Mr Mitchell’s first name has been withheld for security reasons. He has now grown a beard and opted to keep his moustache.

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