Celebrating vulnerability this Men’s Health WeekJune 9, 2022
For Peter Lear, who spends his days working with men who use violence, men’s health is more than just physical. As the Program Lead of CatholicCare’s Safer Families Program, Peter hopes Men’s Health Week this year invites conversations that highlight the connection between physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. “What’s good for the body is also good for the mind,” Peter says. “The body and the mind operate together as a whole organism.”
The theme for Men’s Health Week 2022 is ‘Building Healthy Environments for Men and Boys’. Through a series of promotions, events and publicity around the country, Men’s Health Week is designed to provoke thought and discussion about what needs to be done to improve male health.
Reflecting on this year’s theme, Peter notes that in Australia boys often grow up in environments that don’t encourage them to engage with their feelings. “They’re very much in touch with their thinking, but their feelings are such a big part of their health,” Peter says.
With strength being an aspirational quality for many boys, Peter hopes for a cultural shift that sees vulnerability in men as a marker of strength. “As a society we need to change our perceptions of masculinity,” Peter says. “Especially the idea that men should be tough, go-it-aloners.”
Peter has seen, first-hand, how a man’s decision to be vulnerable is often the first step in turning their life around. Peter recalls one participant in their Caring Dads Program, a program for men who use violence that focuses on parenting. Vulnerability for this participant meant acknowledging his own motivations, attitudes, and behaviours. “By working with him on this, he was able to better understand his partner’s perspective and situation,” Peter says. “Towards the end of the program he said that the program saved his marriage. That’s a big statement.”
For many of the men Peter works with, childhood trauma and exposure to domestic violence are factors that have heavily impacted their health and wellbeing. Among the broader population, Peter identifies three factors that significantly impact a man’s wellbeing – stress, poor physical health, and an obsession with winning and achieving. “Honestly, we need to have a bit of a value shift where we focus less on achieving and more on family and those we love, including ourselves,” Peter says. “We also need to be more compassionate towards ourselves and others.”
Men’s Health Week is the perfect time to reach out and get the help you need to start living healthier. There are resources available to help you improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. All you need to do is reach out. Call us on 1800 324 924, email email@example.com or visit www.catholiccaredbb.org.au.