The spread of coronavirus has forced the closure of men's sheds around the globe, but Horsham Men's Shed is staying connected via phone to combat social isolation.
Men's sheds, which provide social and practical outlets for many men around the world, are using phones, Facebook and a new online platform launched by the Australian Men's Shed Association.
Wimmera Men's Shed network co-ordinator Geoff Witmitz said the groups were each adopting their own method to keep in contact.
"The Horsham Men's Shed is calling and texting each other because the phone is what they trust and know... it was the best way for them to communicate any issues they are facing," he said.
Mr Witmitz said he was concerned about men's mental health and how the coronavirus further limited contact within already isolated regional communities.
"We are concerned... because they are our parents, our grandparents and our community," he said.
"Some of them are vulnerable, proud, not connected to services and navigating systems they have never experienced before which can be daunting."
Australian association executive officer David Hurley said people were becoming more physically isolated amidst the current coronavirus emergency and it was important to find ways to maintain social connections.
"When it comes to older Australians the influence of social connectedness, or lack thereof, on mortality is comparable to well-known risk factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption," he said.
Mr Witmitz said if men were finding it tough they should speak out.
He said the men's shed could help them contact Rural Outreach Services and other community networks, to provide them with strategies and support.
"There is a real risk that they will become really isolated if we don't take the time to be a good neighbour and friend," he said.
"It doesn't take much to pick up the phone and say g'day."
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