The men’s wellbeing project: promoting the well-being and mental health of men

Published date13 April 2020
Date13 April 2020
AuthorGabriel Abotsie,Roger Kingerlee,Andrew Fisk,Sam Watts,Rachel Cooke,Luke Woodley,Dawn Collins,Bonnie Teague
The mens wellbeing project: promoting
the well-being and mental health of men
Gabriel Abotsie, Roger Kingerlee, Andrew Fisk, Sam Watts, Rachel Cooke, Luke Woodley,
Dawn Collins and Bonnie Teague
Purpose Comparatively, men have poorerphysical and mental health outcomes than women, with a
significantly higher suiciderate. Contributory factors are thought to be social and biological, leading to
reduced access to health-care services. The study aims to develop and implement community-based
supportto increase awareness of and access to men’smental health support networks and groups.
Design/methodology/approach The project involved threekey work-packages discussed in this paper:
raising awareness of men’s mental health needs in health care, educational and commu nity settings;
collaboration between National Health Services (NHS) and non-NHS health -care support organisations to
build multi-sector partnership working; and developing a supported spo rts-based community intervention
aimed at men living with mental health conditions. The acceptability and feasibility of these work-packages
were pragmatically evaluatedthrough mixed-methods surveys and qualitative content analysis.
Findings Overall, both community events and sports groups successfully engaged men living with
mental health problems. Organisations interested in men’s mental health are continuing to engage in a
partnershipinitiative. Community events were well-attended and receivedpositive feedback, particularly
regarding the educative and real-life experiences approach promoted in the events. The sports
intervention is feasible and well-accepted by participants, who described feeling supported with their
physicaland mental health needs, with increasedmental well-being reported.
Research limitations/implications The main limitations of this project are that the authors only
evaluated a football group rather than all work areas. The project collected outcomes relating to
participants’ demographicsand qualitative reflections of participating in the football group along witha
retrospectivesurvey of perceived benefits, but theproject did not undertake a pre- and post-comparison
of well-beingoutcomes owing to low completion of thesemeasures. Future work could focus on collecting
more pre- andpost-measures related to well-being,recovery and inclusion and compare thesewith men
not involvedin the football groups or public events.
Practical implications This paper discussesthe development and feasibility of settingup community-
based men’s mentalhealth support networks, involving publicevents, partnership working and targeted-
sports interventions.All initiatives werewell-received and successfullyattended by men living with mental
health conditions. Evaluation of the programme revealed the value placed on education about mental
healthand the role that community sports interventionsmay play in men’s mental health care.
Social implications This project has demonstrated threedifferent ways of supporting men’s mental
health needs in the community.Community public events were held to raise awareness of men’s mental
healthneeds and issues were well-attended and highlightedthe need for health promotion and education
in this area across all the communities. The men’s footballgroup demonstrated the feasibility of moving
mental health support out into a non-clinical and more community arena in a way that men engaged
effectively. Finally, the creation of MensNet has bought together disparate multi-sector organisations
successfullyto lead public health mechanismsto support men’s mental health needs.
Originality/value This paper describes a new multi-disciplined approach to supporting health-seeking
challenges among men, in particular, how partnership working across NHS and non-NHS sectors can
successfully support an identified public health need pragmaticall y using existing services and organisations.
Keywords Football, Gender, Access to services, Help-seeking, Men’s mental health,
Men’s well-being, Mental health
Paper type Research paper
Gabriel Abotsie is based at the
Department of Research and
Development, Norfolk and
Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust,
Norwich, UK.
Roger Kingerlee is based at the
Department of Psychology,
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS
Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK.
Andrew Fisk is based at the
Department of Community
Mental Health, Norfolk and
Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust,
Norwich, UK.
Sam Watts and Rachel Cooke
are both based at Physical
Health Projects, Active Norfolk,
Norwich, UK.
Luke Woodley is based at The
Walnut Tree Health and
Wellbeing, Norwich, UK. Dawn
Collins is based at the depart-
ment of Directorate of Nursing,
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS
Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK
Bonnie Teague is based at the
Department of Research and
Development, Norfolk and
Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust,
Norwich, UK.
Received 3 March 2020
Revised 5 March 2020
Accepted 6 March 2020
The Burdett Trust for Nursing
funded this work through the
Men’s Health Grant
Programme. The writers
acknowledge the staff at Active
Norfolk who worked tirelessly to
help implement ATPF and
Norwich Clinical
Commissioning Group for
providing funding for ATPF. The
authors express profound
appreciation to the coaches
provided by the Premier Sports
Foundation who officiated foot-
ball sessions. Sincere gratitude
to the Research Department
and Library Services for their
help with the project planning,
delivery and evaluation.
DOI 10.1108/JPMH-03-2020-0014 VOL. 19 NO. 2 2020, pp. 179-189, ©Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 1746-5729 jJOURNAL OF PUBLIC MENTAL HEALTH jPAGE 179

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