Movember Men's Health Awareness Month
Skylight supports men’s mental health and wellbeing, and recognises that grief may look and feel differently for men, than it does for women. In an effort to contribute to this ongoing conversation, Skylight recently held a Men’s Grief and Wellbeing Workshop. The workshop promoted men’s mental health, by examining how gender-responsive support, enhances resilience and wellbeing.
Dr. Chris Bowden (Victoria University of Wellington) and Dr. Sarah McKenzie (Otago University, Wellington) explored evidence-based research, on how men cope and manage grief, and the role masculinity plays in men’s ability to seek support. Some key takeaways from the session, emphasised that men may prefer alternative methods to grieving, such as actively pursuing activities. Sometimes men will avoid the issue as a way of coping, which involves trying to minimise the problem, dealing with things privately, and/or venting emotions.
This is important because in general, positive mental health messaging recommends that people seek social support or talk to someone when there is a problem. However, men may not have a natural inclination to do this when they are grieving a significant loss. This may make them feel that they aren’t grieving the ‘right way’. So, it’s important to consider how adapting our support strategies, can help men cope with grief and loss. Some examples might be:
-Encourage non-verbal expressions of grief
-Encourage ‘active grieving’
-Encourage moving from focusing on the loss to remembering the life of their loved one
-Offer peer and professional-led male support group.
Remember that grief can be shaped by gender, but it is not determined by gender, and that how people respond to grief is unique, personal to us, our family/whanau, and community. Skylight supports the ongoing mahi in this space to better support men’s mental health and wellbeing.
Intersex Awareness Day 2018
Intersex Awareness Day on Friday 26 October is an international day of grass-roots action to raise awareness, end shame, secrecy and unwanted surgeries and medical interventions on intersex children. The day also provides an opportunity for reflection and political action.
Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of people born with variations of sex characteristics that doesn’t fit typical definitions of male or female bodies.
Being intersex is a naturally occurring variation. For some people intersex traits are visible at birth while for others they might not know they’re intersex until later in life, like when they go through puberty. Sometimes a person can live their whole life without ever knowing that they’re intersex.
Internationally it has become common practice to subject intersex children to unnecessary surgical and other procedures to try to make their appearance conform to binary sex stereotypes. These often-harmful medical procedures are regularly performed without the informed consent of the person concerned. In Aotearoa we do not support these unconsented medical interventions and are more focused towards supporting young people and their whānau to connect to support networks where they can make informed choices about their bodies.
Being intersex relates to biological sex characteristics and is distinct from a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. There is a big difference between intersex and transgender, but some intersex people do identify as transgender.
Around 1.7% of people across the world are intersex, this is the same as the number of people with red hair. That is over 75 million people across the world or 15 times the population of Aotearoa.
Intersex Trust of Aotearoa New Zealand ITANZ and their project group Intersex Youth Aotearoa are working to further enhance the communities understanding of intersex people and improve the health and well-being for intersex people across Aotearoa.
Find out more here