MENtalk is a programme designed to support young men’s emotional health and wellbeing. Positive mental wellbeing and emotional resilience have been shown to improve young men’s educational achievement and quality of life.

Evidence suggests that men tend not to engage with services, such as their GP, or feel as confident talking about their emotions as women. MENTalk uses the medium of football to open up discussion and create an environment in which men feel comfortable.

The programme consists of an eight-week course targeting boys in year 10 and 11 in secondary schools throughout Gloucestershire.  Each session lasts one-hour covering sexual health topics and mental well-being relevant to boys at school and in other educational settings; particular to boys who may have any of these issues arise during their teenage years.  Each session consists of a 30-minute classroom-based activity, followed by 30 minutes of football or physical activity.  The emphasis during the physical activity is very much on reinforcing the health messages covered in the classroom-based sessions.

Topics Covered

Mental Health Awareness 
What is Mental Health? Mental Health awareness and understanding; the different types, how it can affect anybody, the lingo and the stigmas that come with it, the causes and triggers and the support, coping mechanics and strategies.

Positive Mental Attitude 
How having a positive mental attitude can improve your general outlook and in specific situations.  Also how self-confidence can aid performance and understanding we all have good and bad qualities.

Stress, Anxiety and the Mental Health Continuum
Understanding stress and anxiety, what roles and effects they can have on someone – physically, psychologically and socially. The lingo and the stigmas that come with it, the causes and triggers, along with the support, coping mechanics and strategies. Understanding the different ways people are affected and respond to situations. Everyone will feel positive and negative about different situations. Understand that there can be pros that come from cons and cons that come from pros.

Body Image and Appearance 
The students will understand how appearances can cause negative thoughts. Thoughts may cause severe emotional distress and interfere with their daily functioning. Students will gain an understanding of the various types of body image disorders and the unrealistic expectation society and the media place on the importance of body image and appearance which cloud true perceptions. Coping with such issues through coping strategies and support networks will also be addressed.

Online, bullying and self-harm 
Understanding the potential dangers and risks which can come from the use of online and social media and subsequently how to stay safe and protect yourself and others, as well as where to find support and help. Understanding of the different forms, effects and impacts of bullying and how to deal with it and the support networks available. Understanding about self-harm, the severity and the support and coping mechanics available.

Drugs and Alcohol 
Understanding the potential dangers and risks which can come from the use of alcohol and drugs. Understanding the different types and forms, and the effects they can have both physically and mentally. How to help reduce the health risks from alcohol consumption. The support and coping mechanics which are available.

Testicular Self – Examination
The student will understand how to check for Testicular Cancer, the awareness and importance of checking, as well as the coping mechanics and the support networks ‘where to go’ and ‘what to do’.

Safe Sex, STI’s and Porn
The students will understand the importance of safe sex and how to protect themselves and know the correct practices of safe sex. Gain an understanding of STI types and their consequences.  Gaining a greater awareness of what pressures can come from sexual activity and relationship. The impact of pornography and the adverse effects this can have physically as well as emotionally. Understanding of slang, the lingo and the stigmas that come with it and how it is used compared to the correct names of terms and functions, as well as dispelling ‘myths’ surrounding these topics.

If you would like to be involved with the MENtalk programme or would like further information please contact or complete and submit the form below.

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