Burgers are a favourite comfort food for many, but they aren’t often described as “brain food”. Lachlan Stevens is changing that narrative, using burgers as a way to get men talking about their mental health.
Lachlan owns Wollongong bar His Boy Elroy and has started an initiative called Barstool Brothers, a social group aimed at creating connection and support among men in the Illawarra region.
“[His Boy Elroy] naturally caters towards men aged 20 to 50 years old,” Lachlan told Finding Hope podcast listeners.
“We often had conversations with customers about how their day is going, which led to conversations around mental health challenges.
“So we wanted to put a framework in place to support that community.”
Barstool Brothers meet at His Boy Elroy once a month for free burgers and a beer – where members have been encouraged to find relationship and connection, in a non-threatening environment.
“[Men] don’t want to sit around in what’s classified as a therapy session. That’s intimidating for a lot of men,” Lachlan said.
“We try not to stress that. Its just sports, burgers and a beer.”
The group also organises regular non-alcoholic events, such as hikes and golf days.
Barstool Brothers also organises regular non-alcoholic events, such as hikes and golf days.
When lockdown created physical barriers to the meetings, Barstool Brothers moved online – to a Facebook group and regular Zoom meetings. But, Lachlan continued using burger deliveries as a form of connection.
“We run free burgers each night to any member that needs that social connection,” he said.
“Dropping off a burger at their house, asking them how they’re doing – that small part in their long day can mean so much to them.
Lachlan credits the success of Barstool Brothers to its culture – loyalty, authenticity and community.
“We don’t shy away from who we are,” he said.
“People associate negative effects of alcohol and mental health, but we’ve built a culture in our bar around the responsible consumption of alcohol.
“People associate negative effects of alcohol and mental health, but we’ve built a culture in our bar around the responsible consumption of alcohol,” – His Boy Elroy owner Lachlan Stevens
“People don’t abuse it.
“We maintain a grip on the direction of Barstool Brothers and ensure it has the outcomes of the members at the forefront.”