I don't have an Old Mate!
Not a problem - there are loads of ways to find new Old Mates. We like the KISS rule: Keep it simple, stupid. The easiest way to find an Old Mate is to ask your friends, family and co-workers if they know an Old Mate. Personal introductions are a great way to connect.
If that doesn't work, then we're here to help! We're developing a range of partnerships and collaborations with external organisations that can help connect you to a range of Old Mates. These will be added to the More Old Mates page. More will be added soon!
If you still can't find an Old Mate, then Google local retirement villages or aged care facilities. Many are often looking for volunteers.
Can you connect me directly with an Old Mate?
Unfortunately, no. Without robust vetting methods of both you and the Old Mate, there are inherent risks for us to be directly connecting people to Old Mates. This is why we're developing partnerships with a range of external providers like Uniting, who have the proper frameworks and checks in place to help you connect and volunteer.
I don't know the first thing about mental health!
Not a problem at all! #OLDMATE is designed to help improve your Old Mate's mental health in way that requires zero mental health knowledge. #OLDMATE activities help increase your Old Mate's connectivity, fitness, self-esteem, capability and sense of purpose - all of which improve mental health.
If you do want to improve your own knowledge about mental health, then we recommend you check out Mental Health First Aid's handy guidelines.
I think my Old Mate needs formal mental health support
If you're not a mental health professional - then don't try to be. Leave that to the experts. There are myriad mental health support networks across Australia (and the world). We recommend you check out our Mental Health Support page if your Old Mate needs more formal mental health support.
Why bother with older men? They've lived their lives. Why not focus your attention on younger men?
We think this is an awful question - but unfortunately we're asked it, or some variation of it, a lot.
We believe that if we can improve anyone's mental health, then we should make as much effort to do so regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race, etc. It's as simple as that.
How does #OLDMATE dovetail with the conversation about assisted dying?
We believe that #OLDMATE exists in a very different space to the assisted dying debate. Assisted dying is typically based around the premise of degenerative, incurable illness. #OLDMATE is about improving connectivity, fitness, self-esteem, capability and sense of purpose - all of which improve mental health.
Ernie's a great example of what #OLDMATE is all about. A bright, switched on older guy who is facing increased isolation due to mobility issues.
If you showed that video to his neighbours, we guarantee every single one of them would draw up a simple roster to hang out with him.
What about older women?
Mental health is a national problem for both men and women - so yes, women should not be forgotten!
Although the rates of poor mental health are roughly the same between the sexes, men suicide up to 5x more than women - which is why Spur Projects' initiatives are typically more slanted towards men.
One of our activities is Lady Mate which encourages everyone to also find an older woman to hang out with, too!
If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to send us an email. We're always here to help.