The Male Room usually offers people a place to go, get some kai, and talk to someone face-to-face.

Under the lockdown rules a lot of that has changed, but director and founder Philip Chapman said the korero was keeping on over the phone or skype.

He said the Male Room had applied for and been granted a Government fund which would be used to help pay for three counsellors who would be able to talk to anyone who was struggling with the lockdown.

He said the Police were now dealing with more call-outs for minor domestic disputes, and the counselling service would hopefully help reduce the stress people were dealing with.

Published in Stuff

“The Police did say to me there’s a lot of people coming to their attention for very minor things who they haven’t seen or heard before,” he said.

“Domestic violence just conjures up this terrible image, whereas often its frustration, it’s the first time, and it’s on that minor end of the scale.

“People being together all this time, it might just be frustration, it might be that your business is going under, it might be that your job won’t be there at the end of all this, it might be that rent is due, so there’s the financial element. This is a tough time for a lot of people. For a lot of people this must be just awful.”

He said the additional stress could mean that people who never needed help before might find themselves getting more angry than they mean to, and then having no way to get space to calm down.

“It could be a minor thing that just tips you over, and then you’re in an argument … something happens, and next thing you know your voice is raised, you’re swearing, and we’re all capable of that, we’re all capable of it, and then there’s the sulking and the no talking and you’re stuck in a house together.”

He said the phone line and the web-based sessions were completely free and confidential, meant as a place for people to talk out their frustrations and anxieties without judgement.

Chapman said the service was available to any men, women or young people who felt they needed it, throughout the wider Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman region.

Anyone wanting a call can contact Male Room manager Louis Chapman via the Male Room Facebook page or by calling 027 308 1215 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to set up an appointment with a counsellor.

By Skara Bohny
Published in Stuff
17 April 2020