New men­tor­ing pro­gram sup­ports men for “Life”

Monthly Chronicle - - Health & Well-being -

Men­tor­ing Men, a new one-on-one men­tor­ing pro­gram de­signed to ad­dress the big­gest gap in men­tor­ing pro­grams, a pro­gram ded­i­cated to adult men, was launched this month.

Lo­cal Hornsby Shire res­i­dent and founder of Men­tor­ing Men, Ian West­more­land said the idea stemmed from a per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence of search­ing for a men­tor­ing pro­gram for adult men.

“As men, we put up a façade that starts in high school and con­tin­ues through­out our lives. This is why in­di­vid­ual men­tor­ing is im­por­tant - men are far more likely to open up and share the deep, tough stuff in a trusted one-on-one men­tor­ing re­la­tion­ship com­pared to a group en­vi­ron­ment,” Mr West­more­land said.

It’s a pro­gram much in need, es­pe­cially now with pre­lim­i­nary data from the Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Statis­tics last month show­ing Aus­tralia’s sui­cide rate in­creased by 9.1 per cent in 12 months.

“Con­form­ity to tra­di­tional mas­cu­line norms has been shown to be as­so­ci­ated with sui­ci­dal think­ing. Stud­ies also show men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women. This in­creases to over 12 times when men are go­ing through a re­la­tion­ship sep­a­ra­tion,” Mr West­more­land said.

“With a life men­tor you can openly talk about any sub­ject with­out fear of judge­ment, some­thing which I have ben­e­fited from per­son­ally,” he said.

Men­tor­ing men Am­bas­sador Ju­lian Leeser MP, Fed­eral Mem­ber for Berowra, is a strong sup­porter of com­mu­nity-level pro­grams.

“We know that so­cial iso­la­tion is a con­trib­u­tor to poor men­tal health, par­tic­u­larly for men.

Hav­ing a struc­tured pro­gram fo­cussed on goal-set­ting and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment will help build con­fi­dence and self-es­teem. The com­bi­na­tion of men­tor­ing and mate­ship is a pow­er­ful mech­a­nism to en­gage and sup­port men through some of life’s chal­lenges,” said Mr Leeser.

Men­tor­ing Men are cur­rently seek­ing men­tors and mentees to be part of the ini­tial six-month trial. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.men­tor­ing­men. org.au.

Di­eter Monch, Ian West­more­land, Ju­lian Leeser and Aaron Har­vey

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