New funding to advance gender equality and improve wellbeing

Published on 27 July 2020

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Research shows that the pressure on men to follow outdated stereotypes of masculinity is contributing to their anxiety, depression, risky drinking and violence against women.

Mornington Peninsula Shire is proud to announce VicHealth funding of $120,000 over two years to advance gender equality and improve the health and wellbeing of men, boys and broader community by addressing outdated masculine stereotypes.

In partnership with specialist family services provider, Family Life, the Shire will deliver the ‘Men and Boys Making It Happen’ project which aims to engage and empower men and boys across the Peninsula to help raise awareness of how rigid gender roles hold men back from living healthy, happy lives.

To help achieve this, the Shire and Family Life will work with Jesuit Social Services to deliver a series of training and education opportunities for Peninsula men and boys who wish to become allies, mobilising them to support others within the local community to challenge unhealthy gender stereotypes and break the stigma around men’s mental health.

Training will be based on the Jesuit Social Services ‘The Man Box’ study, which reveals young Australian men freed from outdated gender stereotypes enjoy better physical and mental health. 

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Sam Hearn says, “according to research, 54 per cent of young Australian men feel they are under pressure to solve their own personal problems without asking for help”.

“We also know that 19.8 per cent of the Mornington Peninsula male adult population have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression with men having often suffering from a high level of psychological stress”, said Cr Hearn.

“We need to normalise men’s mental health conversations and create a culture that tells men it’s ok to share your struggles and healthy to talk about your emotions.

As a Council we have a responsibility to mobilise community change and make sure we support our local community by looking after their mental health and wellbeing.

We’re really looking forward to this project promoting respectful relationships and identifying community role models to shift attitudes and behaviours around gender stereotypes and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for men, boys and the broader community”, concluded Cr Hearn.

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said it is important young men believe they can be themselves.

“If we want boys and young men to live happy, healthy lives and be caring and respectful in their relationships with women they need role models that show them being a good man is the same as being a good person”, Dr Demaio said.

For more information about the project contact Jodie Belyea Community Change Manager Family Life jbelyea@familylife.com.au or visit: www.mornpen.vic.gov.au/GenderEquity

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