I felt privileged to contribute at the Australian Men's Health Forum (AMHF) Men’s Health Connected Online Summit today.
I wondered what I could add to the discussion, but when asked, it flowed. Here is a download of my reflections and experiences personally and professionally:
- The “system” we have right now is under unsustainable strain at the other end of the continuum, ie. the clinical side, no matter how talented and qualified they are
- This leads to majority dissatisfaction (or worse) at every turning point from every stakeholder involved (men, clinicians, governments and more)
- The responsibility is ALL of ours to spread that load, from non-clinical grassroots services, to men’s groups / circles, to training & education, to large research organisations, to clinical & crisis services
- Extra funding for “mental health” broadly is fantastic as a soundbite but it is being funnelled disproportionately to the far end of the continuum - if it was dispersed, could the clinical end be under less pressure?
- Men need a “soft landing” not a “hard entry point” that I personally had (because too many men suddenly face this brick wall and can’t see past it)
- Men’s Shed has more locations than McDonalds in Australia, they have been around longer than the recent consciousness rising around mental health
- Men need far more education from childhood on basic, simple principals and resources (and a bit more love would help too)
- We need to meet men they are already, with no egos, preaching, judgement and less forcing them to talk if they are not ready or in a safe place to do so (listening first is key)
- We are already having to go backwards to go forwards, men may first come to an acceptance, face “it”, listen, digest, process and then have a chance to move forward
- If this sector can do more with increased support and resources, then the men that access our services will enter the system softly and earlier, with less crisis – this will take a gradual, but consistent effort over the next decade
To find out more about the AMHF visit here.