MAN UP program in WA receives $90k funding to empower young men
WA-based MAN UP, whose focus is on empowering young men and redefining masculinity, has been awarded $90,000 funding over three years by the State Government.
Youth Minister Dave Kelly said the funding would be used to support MAN UP’s peer-to-peer program, coaching high school boys how to embrace healthy masculinity.
"Mental health issues in men can stem from a toxic concept of masculinity that requires men to 'man up' or 'toughen up', to keep their emotions and vulnerability tightly controlled and hidden at all times,” Mr Kelly said.
"We know that these extremely harmful ideas of masculinity are still pervasive in our community today.
"Through its peer-to-peer delivery method, the MAN UP initiative cuts through these stereotypes and teaches our high school boys that it is ok to embrace vulnerability and to stand up for what's right.
"Redefining masculinity and the concept of what it means to be a man is an important step in the pursuit of a better world."
The co-founders of MAN UP, Haseeb Riaz & Gareth Shanthikumar, chose the phrase MAN UP as a reminder for young men “to live authentically from one’s heart, embrace vulnerability and hold one another accountable to stand up for what’s right.”
Both men went to all-boys schools in Perth and say they were never formally taught how to deal with negative emotions, how to navigate healthy relationships or how to help a mate going through tough times.
Established in 2019, they have developed experience-based workshops to share topics that are not typically discussed in a school environment, leveraging volunteers to share their experiences. Topics include mental health, male culture, understanding relationships and encouraging positive conversations amongst one another.
“We see these young men open up about some topics they’ve never been able to speak about before,” Haseeb told The Geraldton Guardian in 2021.
“In that age group, people start going through the stresses of their life. People start drinking...consenting to relationships, driving, partying.
“Students identify that, to be a good man, you don’t need to be just inside (the man box), or just outside. You need to be able to regulate.”