There have been a few fantastic articles in the last few months that explore the issues around masculinity, and broaden it from simplistic notions of toxicity and health. One of late was that by David Leser in the Sydney Morning Herald. There's powerful paragraph early in the article from a book by Eve Ensler, feminist writer of the Vagina Monologues. It describes a deep anguish experienced by a soldier that opened Enslers eyes to the experiences of men she had previously not understood.
The article goes on to explore a range of topics, including the idea that stereotypes of men (and women) continue to be perpetuated. Amongst the various spaces that stereotypes have been challenges against in the past 30 years or so is through the various men's groups and gatherings that have developed around the world, including in Tasmania.
Often people wonder about young men and how we can help them to explore their own masculinity in healthy ways. There are various programs and organisations doing work with these young men, the leaders, politicians, and business leaders of tomorrow. Some schools run programs in year 9, exploring different approaches to education at a time when many young men struggle to stick with the system. Coming up in early September is another camp with Community Rites of Passage, happening on Bruny Island. Nick Hall, of Nick Hall Adventure Therapy is one of the leaders, recently profiled in a local Hobart publication. He'll be helping out on their next camp at Bruny Island from 5-8 September. There is still space on this camp, and more camps coming up in the future. Rites of Passage programs such as these, provide concrete ways for boys to see a diverse range of masculinities, see intimacy between men supporting each other, sharing stories and experiences, learning when and how to be strong in vulnerability,
Can you help us ensure that the booklet stays current, and available to men and boys in our community?
The Tasmanian Community Fund generously supported the redesign and printing of the Blokes Book in 2017. It has been great that we have been able to provide the resource to community organisations, private businesses and individuals for free. How can you help?
We are looking for support in various ways:
Healthy Shed kicks off Tuesday the 30th of July - Rocherlea
Download a poster to share with your network, or post at your workplace
This is a free program that will help participants live a healthier lifestyle, bringing heaps of different types of sessions to your community including:
How to register?
· Fill in your details just ONCE by downloading the “I’m In by Healthy Tasmania” phone app available on iOS and Android (App Icon looks like the image attached). Then simply bring your phone along when you come to a session and scan the QR code on your phone with the session coordinators phone (If you have already downloaded the app and used it at a session, please update the app via the App Store (Apple) or Play Store (Android)) OR
Are you an Australian father or do you know one? We have an anonymous, 12 minute online survey for dads with children between 3 and 12 years old. Is this you? If so, we want to hear your opinions about discussing with your young child sexuality related issues such as puberty, sex, respectful relationships, gender, reproduction, and being emotionally and physically safe. We want to hear from all sorts of dads with all sorts of experiences, even if you have never given sexuality education a moment's thought. If you are a step-dad, a foster dad, a kinship dad, a trans-dad... we want your opinions represented!
For more information and to start the survey, click the anonymous survey link.
If you have any questions about this PhD research, please get in touch: Katy.Thomas@utas.edu.au
This study has been approved by the University of Tasmania Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee.
Health Consumers Tasmania is promoting the following consultations for people who use health services, their carers and community representatives.
Standards for Primary Health Care
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is developing standards for primary health care providers other than General Practices. This includes, but is not limited to, areas like community nursing, dentists, pharmacists, chiropractors and psychologists.
Topics for debate include whether accreditation is needed, and what information consumers should be able to access from or about their providers.
Health consumers and community advocates are invited to the following two consultation sessions:
Launceston: Tuesday 23 July, 11pm to 1pm, Harcourts Launceston Training Room, 112-114 George St
Hobart: Wednesday 24 July, 12 pm to 2pm, Heart Foundation, 1/89 Brisbane St
Note - the Commission is conducting separate consultations sessions for clinicians.
Please rsvp to Kate Griggs at email@example.com.
Further information about the new standards is available at www.safetyandquality.gov.au/our-work/primary-health-care/.
Rehabilitation and Geriatric Evaluation and Management
Health Consumers Tasmania is using its next 'open meeting' in Hobart to facilitate conversation about Rehabilitation and Geriatric Evaluation and Management.
Current and previous patients, carers and community advocates are invited to attend. The Department of Health will also be attending to consult on a new ‘Model of Care’.
A light lunch will be provided, and a short pre-reading document will be sent out to registered participants prior to these events.
Hobart: Wednesday 7 August, 12 pm to 2pm, Heart Foundation, 1/89 Brisbane St
Please rsvp to Kate Griggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note – initial consultations have already been conducted for Burnie and Launceston, however we are happy to facilitate any further conversations health consumers may wish to have.
No matter whether you are a dad to be, nervously expecting an immanent arrival, or if your children are toddlers, there is something here for you. This is a simple and practical website, that provides practical advice for dads, by dads. The timely latest article, focuses on how to bring more fun and less stress to Mothers day. Dads own health and wellbeing is factored in as well through articles like How a health scare made me realise I needed to get in shape for my kids.
Real-life advice, sense and nonsense from dads who’ve been there, done it, and are wearing the spewed on t-shirt.
Disclaimer - the website is provided by an insurance company, so there maybe some selling of products in there, but our general look didn't find any. You also wont agree with everything you read on this site, but article like 10 things books, okay, the internet didn’t tell me about becoming a dad, appear to be legitimate perspectives from dads sharing their own experiences.
We've listed this and various other useful contacts on Resources for Fathers web page
If you know of other resources, let us know by sending an email.
A dad who would have loved some resources like this 18 years ago
Six ways to celebrate men’s health week -for service providers
Men’s health week is held annually around the second week of June. The theme for 2019 is Men and Families – Keeping Boys and Men Healthy
We often hear policy makers and service providers calling on men to take better care of their health, to visit the doctor etc. MRT would like to challenge health and community services to think differently, and to consider how they might deliver their services differently, and how you might adapt to meet men where they are at, and in a way that meets the needs of men. Here’s six ways you could adapt your services for men and boys.
Five ways to celebrate men’s health week – for men, boys, families or workplaces
An article on the BBC website explores why more men suicide than women, provides another interesting look at the issue, though there are some useful additions that can be made.
Relationship breakdown is one of the most significant factors in male suicide, accounting for about 25% of male suicides in Australia. We know that this also correlates strongly with a loss of access to children, and there is strong anecdotal evidence that the risk for men who get appropriate support through that breakdown and loss of access to their children, does drop significantly. Parents Beyond Breakup run an excellent program, now available in Hobart and Launceston, that provides such support to men.
It's time we move past the simplistic idea that men don't talk and they don't seek help. As with many things, there is truth there, but there's more to it. Men do talk, when given the right environment and context in which to do so. In my experience when the environment is safe, it can be difficult to shut them up. We need to create environments and contexts that seek to engage men in ways that appeal to them, that work with the strengths of their psychology and character. As we know from the men's shed movement, shoulder to shoulder conversation can be more appealing to men. Perhaps this suggests a walk in the park, rather talk across the counselling table might work better for some?
The article cites Mates in Construction whose programs work because they change the culture. Not only do they encourage men to share things of a personal nature, they also make it important for others to do the asking. The more significant culture change is the creation of a more supportive workplace, where people check in on each other. Colleagues know what is happening in each other's lives and can ask, genuinely, how someone is travelling. The emphasis is not on the man to change, to talk more, to seek help, but rather on the people around him, and well designed male-friendly services to support him through those challenging times and to connect him with professional help when it is needed.
In Tasmania, OzHelp Tasmania offers similar programs and services in various trades and worksites. Mates4Mates is also meeting returned services people in ways, contexts and with the language that appeals to their client group.
Men's Resources Tasmania can talk to your organisation about how you can create male-friendly services.
Don't forget that support is available if you, or someone you know is struggling with issues around suicide. Visit the Urgent Assistance page on the MRT website for contacts.
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78
What a great article in the Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend.
“I don’t think that suicide should be viewed as a purely psychiatric issue. The idea that suicide is always the consequence of a definable mental illness continues to dominate the public consciousness despite a growing consensus among the academic community that there is much more at play.”
Situational Distress is the term being applied to looking at suicide from a broader perspective than purely mental health. Programs like Dads in Distress (now an organisation called Parents Beyond Breakup (PBB) provide one critical way to see the issue outside of a mental health paradigm. Research shows relationship breakdown is a factor in about 25% of male suicides.
Men’s Resources Tas is working with others including Primary Health Tasmania to bring some key people to Tas in hopefully late June, to run a forum on working with men with these issues and perspectives. We'd like to see PBB establishing a foothold here in Tassie. These groups are volunteer run and essentially operate through men who have been through relationship breakdown and possibly lost access to children for some time, being facilitators.
Prior to that the Tas Suicide Prevention Community Network of which I am a part are also bringing Zac Siedler – an academic and psychologist who established Man Island, amongst others to the Tas Suicide Prevention Forum in May. His focus is on engaging men.
There is a program running through the network of Neighbourhood Houses, called SuicideTALK. This is a 90 minute chat aimed at just starting those conversations, breaking down the stigma, giving people the vocabulary to talk about suicide in a constructive way. To date the sessions have had largely women attending, and we are keen to try the talks in more male dominated spaces. Dates are available here, and it would be great to see others come along – just register with the House. If anyone would like a talk in your workplace get in touch, we can probably arrange it – not for free, but it doesn’t need to cost a lot.
If this post has raised any difficult thoughts or emotions for you, help is available at:
Lifeline 131 114
MensLine 1300 789 978
Beyondblue 1300 224 636
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
The Canberra Times published an interesting article drawing attention to a recent release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, pointing to people who seek assistance from medical services or medication through the PBS having poorer death, have higher death rates than people seeking assistance for [physical health problems. The article cites the higher rates for men, and when you go to the ABS data, and look a little closer the findings are actually even worse for men 15-74. The articles cites rates for the whole population. The ABS report separates the data from Total Population to 15-74 year olds because of the likelihood of high rates of people dieing over 74 skewing the data.
These three interesting points are from the above ABS page: