This has been one of the questions that Hunter Johnson, Jamin Heppell and I have been asking ourselves as co-founders of The Man Cave; a preventative mental health program that engages boys and young men through workshops that deconstructs masculinity and redefines what it means to ‘be a man’ in Australian society today.
Since October 2014, The Man Cave has worked with over 240 boys aged 14 – 18 years of age through workshops that engage schools and communities. Our workshops provide a safe space to have meaningful conversations that we, as young men, don’t often have the opportunity to have, that explore our masculinity, our vulnerabilities and our mental health.
In a recent online article with Generosity Magazine, co-founder Hunter Johnson wrote that; The Man Cave was created to combat the epidemic of mental health disorders and emotional illiteracy facing Australia’s youth. We fundamentally believe that instead of crisis management and band-aid solutions, we must focus on preventative measures and mental wellness strategies that become life-long tools.
This article also notes key statistics that impact communities across Australia:
- 78 per cent of suicides are men (Mindframe Media)
- 93 per cent of sexual abuse is committed by men (CASA)
- 95 per cent of domestic violence is committed by men (Whiteribbon.org.au)
As a preventative program, we believe that developing a deeper understanding of self and others, we can address these issues that plague our society.
In March, we were fortunate to work with 63 students from three schools in Tamworth, NSW to launch the 2015 Tamworth Schools White Ribbon Program.
The Man Cave workshops exist to:
- deconstruct traditional masculinity and the role of mass media in shaping the stereotype of what it means ‘to be a man’
- develop emotional wellness and positive psychology strategies and heighten understanding of their correlation to mental health and domestic violence
- provide practical skills such as mindfulness, meditation and self-awareness to guide the challenging transition for boys into adulthood.
Our program incorporates positive psychology, sociology and research, in a professionally facilitated full-day program that is fun, impactful and enables boys and young men to define what it means to ‘be a man’ for themselves – which is often, being a (hu)man.
Rosie Batty; the 2015 Australian of the Year, who has risen above her own personal tragedy and the great loss of her 11 year old son, Luke, who was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of his father in a very public assault, said at the launch of the public campaign ‘Not Alone’ that:
“When we consider that 2 women a week are being murdered (at the hands of partners or ex-partners), and when we consider 1 in 3 women has experienced physical violence, and when we consider 1 in 4 children is also affected by violence, we realise it is everybody’s problem.”
We want to grow The Man Cave to impact more boys and young men across Australia to support them to take the inevitable journey from boyhood to adulthood but with the life tools to not only survive, but to thrive.
The Man Cave has the ability to accept tax deductible donations.
Contact me for information to make a tax deductible donation to The Man Cave
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