‘Never walk alone’: Mentoring Men program helps men get back on track

A mentor and mentee have a chat at the beach. Photo: Supplied

On average, nine people in Australia take their own lives every day. Glaringly, seven of those are men.

With nearly half of men experiencing mental health challenges during their lifetime, Australian charity Mentoring Men was established to provide a listening ear from time to time for men experiencing challenges.

Focusing on a proactive approach, engaging with men who need help before they spiral into crisis, the program offers free long-term one-to-one mentoring for those who need help. Mentors are professionally trained and mentees come from all walks of life; managers, tradies, students, retirees and more.

To reach more men within its local community, Sydney North Health Network (SNHN) has provided funding to expand the service across the northern Sydney region, where there are now approximately 130 Mentors and three Mentor Peer Support Groups ready to provide help to men in the area.

Mentoring Men’s support helps prevent men from reaching crisis point by matching an at-risk man (Mentee), with a trained Mentor for 6-12 months. Through a male-focused suicide prevention strategy, it has successfully engaged over 1,400 men across Australia.

Volunteer Mentors are trained to provide non-judgemental support and proactive prevention to engage mentees. Volunteers are trained in best practice in Suicide Prevention to equip them with the skills to support men in the community.

During Men’s Health Week (12-18 June), Ramon del Carmen, Sydney North Health Network Acting CEO, said supporting men so that no man walks alone was crucial.

“Men’s mental health is a priority, not just in Men’s Health Week, but all year around,” he said.

“By expanding the Mentoring Men program we hope to reach those who may be feeling isolated and encourage them to seek support.”

Mentor Peer Support Groups for volunteers are also offered by Mentoring Men. These provide a forum for Mentors to discuss their mentoring relationships and how best to support each other through challenging experiences.

In addition to its core activity of one-to-one life mentoring, the service also improves community connections by holding monthly community events such as men’s walk and talks, forums, and webinars.

To find out more about Mentoring Men please visit www.mentoringmen.org.au

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