How Men’s Sheds help mental health

Published by  Communications

On 28th Jun 2021

Researchers at the University of East Anglia are launching a new project to see how ‘Men’s Sheds’ can improve mental health and loneliness.

Men’s Sheds are community spaces for men and women to come together, work shoulder-to-shoulder on projects, learn and share skills and build social connections.

The UEA team will investigate how being part of a Shed community impacts mental health and loneliness. And they are looking for ‘Shedders’ around the UK to take part.

They hope to better understand the role of social prescribing - when health professionals refer patients to support in the community to improve their health and wellbeing.

The project has been funded by the UCL Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Network and will be carried out in collaboration with Men’s Shed and the UK Men’s Shed Association.

Lead researcher Dr Bryony Porter, from UEA’s School of Health Sciences, said: “Over one million older adults are chronically lonely and loneliness is associated with a range of negative physical and mental health problems.

“Men’s Sheds aim to bring people together to tackle loneliness by making environments where men and women, but often older men, come together in a social space, doing practical activities like woodwork.

“They are really unique places and the activities are similar to those of garden sheds, but for groups to enjoy together. They’ve been set up to tackle loneliness and they address a big a gap in the provision of community services for men, particularly older men.”

The research team will look at the best ways to measure how being part of the Shed community helps with loneliness, mental health and wellbeing. Shedders (existing Shed members) will undertake two online questionnaires, and some will be invited to be interviewed.

Dr Porter said: “We want to understand the impact of being part of a Shed on mental health and loneliness, and also the role of social prescribing.”

“We also want to know more about the people who attend Sheds, their motivations, the benefits and who this approach may help,” she added.

Charlie Bethel from UK Men’s Shed Association said: “We are delighted to be working with UEA’s School of Health Sciences and very grateful to the UCL Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Network for their tremendous support on this project.  This project will provide a wealth of knowledge and insight to communicate the intrinsic value of Sheds to men, women and society.

“Men’s Sheds are so diverse and each one meets the needs within their communities, understanding impact and people’s motivations better will help us formulate new approaches to encouraging the development of more Sheds and more people joining Sheds.

“This work, led by Dr Bryony Porter will certainly help us to understand ourselves more. It will help us develop, support and build a stronger movement throughout the UK.”

If you are part of a Shed in the UK, you can take part in this study by signing up here: https://forms.office.com/r/9J0Bwzxufb.

Study with us

Explore our research

Latest News

  News
Adult holding a child's hands
03 Dec 2021

Making the right decisions for children growing up in long-term foster care

Read more >
  News
Young women volunteering at a food donation centre
02 Dec 2021

UEA volunteer research reveals how to build inclusive societies

Strong partnerships between volunteers and their governments are key to how we build equal and inclusive societies – according to a new UN report involving UEA...

Read more >
  News
Female Barista Giving Parcel And Coffee To Customer
02 Dec 2021

New support launched for employers and staff affected by Covid-19 pandemic

A new resource has been launched to help employers and frontline workers as they recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

Read more >
  News
Blue and white pills falling onto a flat surface.
01 Dec 2021

The diabetes medication that could revolutionise heart failure treatment

A medication originally used for patients with diabetes is the first to help people with heart failure and could revolutionise treatment, according to new UEA...

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
  News
Blue and white pills falling onto a flat surface.
01 Dec 2021

The diabetes medication that could revolutionise heart failure treatment

A medication originally used for patients with diabetes is the first to help people with heart failure and could revolutionise treatment, according to new UEA...

Read more >
  News
A phone on a table with the reflection of a palm tree on it
30 Nov 2021

Locking your phone in a box can help you break free

Going cold turkey without your phone on holiday may be the key to healthier digital wellbeing, a new study from the University of East Anglia and the University...

Read more >
  News
Letters on wooden blocks spelling out the word dementia
26 Nov 2021

De-cluttering may not help people with dementia

A clutter-free environment may not help people with dementia carry out daily tasks – according to a new UEA study.

Read more >
  News
Two fruit flies facing each other on a stick of celery.
24 Nov 2021

How eating less in early life could help with reproduction later on

Switching from a restricted diet to eating as much as you like could be beneficial for reproduction in later life, according to new UEA research.

Read more >
  News
A jaguar in the Pantanal, South America
23 Nov 2021

Wildlife conservation and economically viable land use are compatible

Wildlife conservation on land that is also economically viable is possible, according to a new study involving the University of East Anglia.

Read more >
  News
02 Nov 2021

Read November issue of yoUr chEm mAg

The November edition of UEA's Chemistry Magazine is now available.

Read more >
  News
Fields in Colombia
30 Nov 2021

All systems GROW for UEA's Colombian project

This month saw the largest and most important summit of 2021, COP26. UEA made its presence felt in a number of ways, including showcasing the results of their...

Read more >