Menslink breakfast goes online to continue supporting vulnerable Canberrans

Dominic Giannini 19 October 2020
Sia Soliola and Martin Fisk

Sia Soliola and Martin Fisk: the Raiders have been role models in the ‘It’s not weak to speak’ campaign. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

In a year when so many more young boys and men are facing life-changing challenges, hearing and being able to look up to community figureheads and role models to build resilience is more important than ever, according to Menslink CEO Martin Fisk.

Mr Fisk says demand for services has shot up 60 per cent from the same time last year while revenue has fallen 20 per cent due to COVID-19.

“Resilience has always been a big issue for our young people and it is all around the ability to have a setback, a challenge, a tough time and being able to bounce back from that,” he says.

“Even for younger boys and men, their parents might be experiencing financial hardship which is causing strain in the family relationship. We have seen a lot of families break up this year due to financial stress.

“School leavers are looking at significant levels of unemployment that no one in their generation has ever experienced.”

Despite having similar rates of mental illnesses as woman, men are three times more likely to die by suicide.

This can partly be attributed to the fact that men find it harder to speak out about their problems, which is why having role models like the Raiders join the ‘It’s not weak to speak’ campaign is so important, Mr Fisk said.

“Men have an inherent belief that they should be problem solvers, not problem creators, so there is a sense of shame that we feel when we have made a mistake or there is a problem we feel we are unable to cope with,” he says.

“If we are feeling like we are a burden, asking for help makes us feel like we are more of a burden.

“There are not enough male-friendly places to talk. I think Menslink and EveryMan, two Canberra born-and-bred organisations, are leading the way for providing those safe places.”

Georgeina Whelan

ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan will be the speaker at this year’s Menslink Business Breakfast. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

This year’s Menslink Business Breakfast will be held on Tuesday, 27 October, and the speaker will be ACT Emergency Services Commissioner Georgeina Whelan.

The 100 per cent online event begins at 7:30 am and will be broadcast from the Region Media studio.

Commissioner Whelan became the face of the ACT’s response to its worst bushfire season since 2003 earlier this year.

She will be speaking on the topic of resilience after leading complex recovery and rebuilding efforts after experiencing tragedy in her role as Commissioner and her prior military career, as well as how she continues to deliver positive leadership under pressure.

“Every year we hold our business breakfast and get more than 500 Canberrans from all walks of industry and government and education to hear an inspiring speaker to talk about a topic of relevance,” Mr Fisk said.

“This year we thought it was important to still proceed with something to be connected with the wonderful people in Canberra who support us and talk to them about what we do and why we do it.”

The money raised through the breakfast funds Menslink to help young and vulnerable Canberrans. Even before COVID-19, demand was surging by about 30 per cent a year.

This year’s event is a ‘pay what you can afford’ ticket to join the broadcast. If your workplace commits to $1,000 or more you will receive acknowledgment during the event and for the rest of the year as a Menslink sponsor.

All of the profits from the event go directly to support programs that have been supporting young men in Canberra since 2002.

For more information about the Menslink Business Breakfast, or to book tickets, visit Menslink.


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