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Speaking directly to men, we found out how to appeal to and engage them before they reach a crisis point
Our handbook, Engaging men earlier: a guide to service design, provides a set of principles upon which wellbeing initiatives for men should be based, drawn from what men have told us is important to them.
We spoke to 27 less well-off men across the UK and Republic of Ireland through a series of co-design workshops. With them, we explored which activities and initiatives might support men’s wellbeing before they reached a crisis. This helped us to develop five key principles of what a good initiative should be aiming for.
What did we find?
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to appealing to and supporting men. In fact, many of the men we spoke to were not drawn to stereotypically ‘male’ activities, and their interests were informed by their own life experiences. However, they did gravitate towards hobby-based activities focused on meeting general wellbeing needs, rather than formal mental health or crisis services.
Friends come as a by-product when you do things you like.
Jacob, 44. Samaritans handbook, 'Engaging men earlier: a guide to service design'
What did the men tell us they wanted from services?
We created five principles for wellbeing initiatives, based on what the men we spoke to said:
- Use activities to facilitate conversation
- Be welcoming and accessible
- Communicate clearly
- Foster meaningful relationships over time
- Foster a sense of achievement
I like the photos where they are pulling funny faces – they are not taking themselves too seriously
Dom, 35. Samaritans handbook, 'Engaging men earlier: a guide to service design'
If you’d like to read more about how we developed this handbook, you can download our methodology below.
For anyone in Ireland interested in designing, running, or commissioning wellbeing groups for men, please download the Irish handbook below. Engaging men in Ireland earlier: a guide to service design shares the same guiding principles while also celebrating examples of effective pre-existing men’s groups and initiatives in Ireland.