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Neighbourhood Houses working with men


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This talk/workshop was presented at the Neighbourhood Houses Conference in George Town, Tasmania on 28th September 2017.

It was delivered by Glen Poole, Development Officer the Australian Men's Health Forum (AMHF) and focuses on the social determinants of men's health; the barriers that can prevent men accessing services and the common ingredients found in projects that engage with men effectively.

Engaging men in Neighbourhood Houses can sometimes require different approaches and ways of working. Some Neighbourhood Houses are looking to engage more men as service users or volunteers, and this session will look at how we may work to include more men in what we do. Glen will provide an overview of some of the key social issues than men and boys face and outline the common practices of male-friendly services, based on national and international research and best practice.

Glen Poole is the Development Officer for the Australian Men’s Health Forum, the peak body for male health in Australia focusing on the social issues that shape men and boys’ health and wellbeing. He has 20 years experience working with men and boys in the UK and Australia and is founder of the Stop Male Suicide project

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Neighbourhood Houses working with men

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. By Glen Poole, Development Officer, AMHF Engaging Men in Neighbourhood Houses
  3. 3. 3 The peak body for male health in Australia focusing on the social issues that shape men and boys’ health and wellbeing. What is the Australian Men’s Health Forum?
  4. 4. 4 “Those most at risk of premature death and illness include Indigenous males, males from rural and remote areas; those with blue collar backgrounds; males with mental illness; war veterans; gay, transgender and intersex people; males with disabilities; socially isolated and non-English speaking males.” Male health in Australia, a call to action (AMHF position paper 2016) We care about men in all their diversity
  5. 5. 5 Men’s health: it’s not a battle of the sexes!
  6. 6. 6 500 people a week die prematurely, nearly two thirds are male 1 in 4 males die before they reach 65 (and 1 in 7 females) 7 out of 10 young people who die each year are male 8 people a day die by suicide, six are men and boys 96% of people who die at work are men 73% of people who die in transport accidentsare male 4 times more men under 65 die from heart disease than women 100 more men than women die from cancer every week Indigenous males die 10 years younger thanNon- Indigenous males 4 times more research funding is given to women’s health 10 Top Male Health Issues
  7. 7. 7 What are the social determinants of health?
  8. 8. 8 What are the social determinants of health?
  9. 9. 9 WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION CANADA The social gradient Income and Income Distribution Early Life Early Childhood Development / Education Social Exclusion Social Exclusion Work Employment and Working Conditions Unemployment Unemployment and Job Security Social Support Social Safety Network Food Food Insecurity Transportation Housing Addiction Health Services Stress Gender, Disability, Race,Aboriginal status What are the social determinants of health?
  10. 10. 10 How significant are the social determinants of health?
  11. 11. 11 Boys' Education Fatherhood Work Social Isolation Access to services Some key determinant’s of Australian Men’s Health
  12. 12. 12 Schools produce better outcomes for girls than boys Better educational outcomes = better health outcomes Why is boys’ education a social determinant of men’s health
  13. 13. 13 Involved Dads = Better health outcomes for boys Being an Involved Dad = Better health outcomes for men Why is fatherhood a social determinant of men’s health?
  14. 14. 14 UNEMPLOYMENT impacts Men’s Health more than Women’s Health EMPLOYMENT improves Men’s Health more than Women’s Health WORKPLACES Men experience more workplace injuries and deaths WORKPLACES Can be a great vehicle for promoting men’s health Why is work a social determinant of men’s health?
  15. 15. 15 Services may be less likely to reach out to men. Men are less likely to access a broad range of services. Why is access to services a social determinant of men’s health?
  16. 16. Don’t be fooled, loneliness affects men too by Dr Roger Patulny, Senior Lecturer at the University of Wollongong, Australia (The Conversation, July 11, 2013 ) 16 “loneliness exacerbates ill health and shortens life expectancies” "loneliness is associated with physical [and] mental health problems" “dominant ‘feeling rules’ prevent men from seeking out social support” "Australian men endure serious loneliness for longer periods than women” “separated men experience less social support than separated women” “older men spend less time in social contact than women when they retire” “the health implications of loneliness for men remain unaddressed” Why is social isolation a determinant of men’s health?
  17. 17. 17 How do we make our services more male-friendly?
  18. 18. 18 Do men want to engage with our services?
  19. 19. 19 Female- Friendly Services Social Conditioning Negative attitudes about men Failure to focus on men's needs Lack of positive gender discourse Stigma Social Isolation No space for men to D.I.Y. Strategic Barriers Failure to see "Men HAVE Problems" 10 Barriers That Can Prevent Men From Engaging With Services
  20. 20. 20 #1: Female-Friendly Services “Many  spaces  where   services  are  delivered   are   ‘feminine’   and  frontline   staff  are  more  frequently   women,  which  can  create   the  perception  that   services  are  for  women”. Samaritans:   Men,   Suicide  and  Society
  21. 21. 21 #2: Social Conditioning of Men and Boys “Gender socialisation not only encourages men to perform risk- taking behaviours but also make it harder for them to ask for help.” European Men's Health Forum: Barriers To Better Health
  22. 22. 22 “Our advisors highlighted the common belief that boys in general are “a problem”. population group for which society lacks tolerance. This view was said to militate against the provision of sensitive care and support for boys, and to be a negative experience for boys themselves.” Mind UK/Men's Health Forum: Delivering Male #3: NegativeAttitudesAbout Men
  23. 23. 23 “Health professionals simply do not routinely consider masculinity or gender in their approach to the design and delivery of health services or messages.” European Men's Health Forum: Barriers To Better Health “The specific needs of older men are largely ignored in current service provision for older people.” Age Concern: Review of Age Concern Services for Older Men #4: Failure to focus on the specific needs of men and boys
  24. 24. 24 #5: Lack of positive gender discourse “One  of  the  biggest  barriers  in   engaging  men  into  social  projects   is   this  overall  resistance   to  engage  with   gender  as  an  issue  from   a  male   perspective.   Despite  evidence  that   tells  us  that   that  male  engagement   is  an  issue,   we  do  not  rethink  our  approach.   This  needs  to  be  tackled  so  that   engagement   can  happen  effectively.” Big  Lottery:   INVISIBLE  MEN
  25. 25. 25 “Men’s reluctance to engage with certain types of projects can be due to social stigmas. This can range from peer disapproval among young men, to stigmas attached to abuse from a perpetrator and or being a victim. Men can be reluctant to go public with a problem that they may perceive to be embarrassing or not ‘manly’. Big Lottery - INVISIBLE MEN #6: Stigma
  26. 26. 26 #7: Social Isolation “Divorced   and  never  married   men  are  more   susceptible   to  social  isolation,   poor  health,   risk   behaviours and  material   disadvantage   than   married   older   men.   Many  widowers   spoke  about   the  emotional   depths   to  which  they  had  sunk  and   the  obstacles   which   they  had  faced  following   the  death   of  their   spouse. It  is  likely  that  the  majority   of  men  in  such   circumstances   remain   very  isolated   and  hard  to  reach.”   Age  Concern: Review  of  Age  Concern  Services  for   Older  Men
  27. 27. 27 #7: Social Isolation “[We  need  to] recognise the  profound   role  of  social  disconnection  in  the   suicide  risk  of  men  in  mid-­life,   and   support  men  to  build  social   relationships. Social  connections  are  one  of  the   most  robust   predictors   of  life satisfaction   and  subjective  wellbeing:   social relationships  make  us  happy   and  healthy” Samaritans:   Men,  Suicide  and   Society
  28. 28. 28 #8: No space for men to “Do It Themselves” “(Men have) a powerful need to see themselves as in control of their finances and able to ‘do it themselves’. Men’s accessing of debt-advice services would be facilitated by framing the promotion of these services in terms of enhancing men’s ability to ‘do it themselves’, regain control of their finances and provide for their families.” Money Advice Trust: Seeking Direction
  29. 29. Confidential29 #8: No space for men to “Do It Themselves” “Develop innovative approaches to working with men that build on the ways men do ‘get through’ in everyday life. It should be possible to recognise the importance men give to being self- reliant by providing ‘self- management’ tools, tailored for men.” Samaritans: Men, Suicide and Society
  30. 30. 30 “Five years after the release of the 2010 National Male Health Policy, Australian males are bereft of administrative structures in any State that cater for their specific concerns. Conversely, an Office for Women or equivalent exists in every State and Territory as well as at the national level.” Australian Men’s Health Forum: Male health in Australia, a call to action #9: Strategic Barriers
  31. 31. 31 “The issue of female offenders is an area that feminist organisations struggle with as it contradicts the core belief that men are the sole perpetrators of sexual abuse. This can be reflected in agency literature, websites and advertising that advocate a pro-feminist stance, which does not include the possibility of female abusers." Mankind UK: An Exploration of Service Delivery to Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse #10: Failure to see men as HAVING problems
  32. 32. 32 “Another barrier to the improvement of male mental health identified by our advisors is the perception among men that concern for emotional health is a ‘women’s issue”. Mind UK/Men's Health Forum: Delivering Male “The majority of older men felt they needed to justify [getting help] to themselves and to other men. Some were involved, at least initially, as volunteers (e.g. walk leaders, drivers) – as active contributors rather than passive recipients.” Age Concern: Review of Age Concern Services for Older Men #10: Failure to see men as HAVING problems
  33. 33. 33 They target men directly They go where men already are (physically and emotionally) They use appropriate language They take a strengths-based approach They don't relate to men as a problem that needs fixing They often engage male staff and volunteers They are often service-user led They often involve community building not just 1-2-1 support They use male- friendly activities They involve fun, action and are projects men want to be part of. 10 common factors in projects that engage successfully with men
  34. 34. 34 Time to workshop….. STEP ONE: Take turns to address the following three questions: 1. What types of men and boys engage in your Neighbourhood Houses? 2. What proportion of your service users, staff and volunteers are men? 3. Would you like to engage more men/boys? If so what groups of men (think age, background, geography, social issues etc)?
  35. 35. 35 STEP TWO: Thinking about the BARRIERS men face and the KEY INGREDIENTS of successful men’s projects, answer the following question: § What are we already doing well to engage men and boys in your neighourbood house? Time to workshop…..
  36. 36. 36 STEP THREE: Thinking about the men you engage with (or want to engage with); the BARRIERS men face and the KEY INGREDIENTS of successful men’s projects, answer the following questions: 1. What would you love to do differently in future? 2. What realistically could you do differently in future? 3. Name one thing you will definitely do to make your Neighbourhood House more male friendly? Time to workshop…..
  37. 37. Any questions? Who What When Where Why How
  38. 38. Confidential38 Don’t be a stranger…. Glen Poole Development Officer Australian Men’s Health Forum