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Circle and men in sport

How could a ‘MATES’ program in our sporting clubs support the mental health of the men in our region?

We had just 2 hours to engage sporting club leaders in Moreton Bay QLD in dialogue about this important challenge. It was a consultation for a pilot program with Brisbane North PHN and MATES in Construction, a not for profit organisation working to reduce suicide in the construction industry. 

There was initial hesitation from the MATES team about inviting men into circle, followed by trust and willingness to give it a go. We sat in circle to begin, and asked people to check in with the question: Why do you care enough about this to be here? 

It was powerful. People expressed how important mental health was to themselves and their families, and to those they cared for as leaders in their sporting clubs. It set everyone up for deep small group conversations about what is already being done for mental health of men and boys in sport, what was needed, and for coming up with ideas and possibilities. 

In the words of ...

Participants, when asked what they would take with them from the conversation:

  • It opened my eyes. 

  • When people come together it’s amazing how many ideas come up 

  • Feeling buoyant, the sheer abundance of ideas. 

  • It’s energetic and feels amazing 

  • I really want to devote more of my life to organisations like this. I’m in, boots n all 

  • The mind boggles where this could go, how it could assist people with issues and those around them. 

  • We’re doing something right here 

  • More hope of saving another good young man 

  • I wasn’t aware there was a problem - my eyes have been opened

Mel was a genuine pleasure to work with, and a quick study – she listened to our organisation’s ideas, scope and boundaries. As a result of her efforts, the consultation was a great success. Because she pays careful attention to detail and is clearly passionate about encouraging people to connect, participants quickly felt comfortable and engaged in the process.

Laura Cox, MATES in Construction

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