Understanding black dog
A group of young men are tackling the challenging topics of mental health - and men’s tackle.
Hamilton man Richard Graham, 33, is a member of the Skywalker Apocalypse Charitable Trust which aims to help young people through education.
The group’s first collaborative effort, The P_N_S Book, was published in 2012 and reads like an instruction manual, answer- ing all the awkward questions boys and young men might have about their penis. Discussion points include wet dreams, erections and personal hygiene.
There’s also an informative piece on where young men shouldn’t stick their male members, such as bottles and spa jet holes. The trust’s follow-up effort, The Black Dog Book, is described as an essential guide to mental health.
Graham said he and his friends started writing the first book after hearing school teachers lament the lack of teaching resources on male health and sexuality.
‘‘The P_N_S Book is essentially the kind of book we wish we’d had when we were young men,’’ Graham said.
‘‘It’s a book that enables boys and young men to start having a conversation on what can be a difficult topic.’’
The Black Dog Book follows a similar format, using cartoons and engaging text to tackle issues such as depression, positive thinking and mindfulness. Graham said the mental health and wellbeing of young people is an issue close to his heart.
He and his friends knew of several people who took their own lives during their teenage years. The books have been distributed to 10 Waikato secondary schools, thanks to a funding grant from the DV Bryant Trust. The trust’s ultimate goal is to offer the books free to schools nationwide.