RON PARNELL is an avid reader and a passionate advocate on men’s well-being.

In fact when he returned to study in his 60s his focus was on men’s health.

The 85-year-old Baulkham Hills man has just been given Rotary International’s highest award, a Paul Harris Fellowship, by the Rotary Club of North Rocks for his community work.

“It’s important to get out and meet people, “ said Ron who says the importance of connecting with people is a vital factor in good mental health.

He set up an Older Men’s Network support group in Hornsby 17 years ago and now there is a second branch in Epping. He also founded a Men’s Carers Support group which meets monthly at Seven Hills. His monthly newsletter, MISTER, first published 20 years ago, has 400 subscribers and is now also available on online at

“I love reading,” he said. “I read these articles and put them together for other people to read.”

Topics cover mental health, isolation, general health, motivational tips and inspirational stories.

When his wife died 15 years ago he joined the Castle Hill Players and appeared in nine plays.

He is still very much involved in the theatre group which performs at the Pavilion Theatre located in the Castle Hill Showground.

He feels loneliness is a huge burden on society and triggers a lot of mental health issues.

“I had to, in a sense, re-invent myself from the emotional inside to reckon with the outside life situation. “

The Men’s Carers Support Group meets at LikeMind premises, Prospect Highway in Seven Hills on the first Thursday of the month. For details call 8599 4880.

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