The 2020 National Men’s Health Gathering in May will focus on a wide-range of themes regarded as critical to the future of male health in Australia.
The Gathering, which incorporates the 13th National Men’s Health Conference and the 10th Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health Convention, brings together delegates from across Australia, New Zealand and internationally for three days of information sharing and discussion on the issues impacting the lives and boys of men.
To kick things off, a session examining advances in health research will start the Men’s Health Conference on May 14. This will include studies on male alcohol consumption, a variety of perspectives on mental health and wellbeing, findings from the Ten To Men longitudinal study on male health and a seminar on suicide, suicide ideation and mental health in the construction industry.
Rites of Passage is another key theme, led by speakers Arne Rubinstein from the Rites of Passage Institute and Orygen’s Dr Simon Rice. This flows into multiple sessions around male mental health and working with men in group settings.
Issues impacting fatherhood include how to work with at-risk dads and a breakfast session dedicated to Australia's flourishing dads' sector.
A key focus of the Australian Men’s Health Forum, hosts of the Gathering, are the social factors that impact male health. So it is not surprising to see this represented as a layer across the three-day conference. In particular under the ‘Social Health’ stream, several speakers will focus on hard-to-reach blokes in rural areas, while research is tabled and case studies presented on effective male-friendly practices and programs.
The use of sport to reach men also comes under the microscope with a presentation from Mr Perfect’s Terry Cornick and the Western Bulldog’s successful Sons of the West program. The final day of the conference will showcase a range of male-friendly services and strategies for engaging men and fathers in support programs.
How men communicate in groups will include findings from the relatively new Listening Shed project, pioneered by Miles Potter.
Never far away from the headlines, male violence will also be addressed from the perspective of perpetrators and male victims of violence. The conference will cover a range of angles on this theme, from alternative approaches to working with violent and aggressive teenage males to challenging dominant forms of masculinity and the importance of informal support for imprisoned primary carer fathers.
Suicide prevention will also be addressed at the Gathering, so too sessions on homelessness, working with multi-cultural communities, and effective strategies for improving community health and Community Participation for older CALD men.
The Gathering celebrates diversity in men and boys, working with men who have been sexually abused, having difficult conversations with young men and supporting male carers’ health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Looking at male wellbeing, there will be several sessions exploring how meditation and Buddhism can address violence and a range of stressors, while this stream will pick up on developing emotional intelligence and ‘what really makes men angry’.
The Gathering will celebrate a grassroots approach to working with men, from building a pro-active men’s mental health movement (Grab Life By The Balls) to the use of story-telling to breaking the mental health stigma.
On the bigger picture, the Gathering will address the important matter of advocacy and what is being done to develop a men’s health strategy in rural far north Queensland.
The full Gathering program will be revealed in March, but anyone with an interest in attending the the 2020 National Men’s Health Gathering is encouraged to take advantage of early bird registration prices, which close on Friday, February 28.