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Xavier’s Story

April 26, 2019

At our Big Night Out earlier last month, Xavier Duffy talked about a dark time in his life and how Menslink helped him out of that dark...

Dear Menslink,My son’s mentor has brought so much into our lives.  My son has become a happier more relaxed and positive person and I see him being much more positive about the future.  His mentor has introduced so many good ideas and values.  Just by being himself and being present as a friend he opened my son’s eyes to lots of good things about life and being a man.  He now has an awareness of the possibilities of the person he can be that he never had before.  The friendship of his mentor has got him through some difficult years where it would have been easy for him to feel very negative.  He’s become a much more wonderful brother to his sisters too.I feel thankful for my son’s mentor and their friendship every day.  I think his mentor’s personal skill as a mentor was immense and I just wanted you to know that whatever balance he found between giving advice or just leaving things alone, it was perfect.  I  was able to let the mentor know if I was worrying, and I always trusted he would know whether to say anything or not to my son.  Just knowing that his mentor was there, aware and supportive was a tremendous help to me as well as my son.When the kids are going well we all start to feel a real sense of pride and contentment.  Seeing them grow into happy and well adjusted people is the best thing there is.  The benefits from the mentoring program effects the whole family. We all appreciate one another more, we’re proud of each other and it shows.So thanks Menslink, for all you’ve done for us

Following my recent “graduation”,I want to express my deep appreciation of the outstanding stewardship of the Menslink Mentor Programme shown by you during the two memorable years I have enjoyed as a mentor.Each and everyone of you have continually demonstrated fine human qualities and outstanding leadership abilities. No matter the need or request, complex or simple, you were always there with understanding, encouragement and active support.And it is your hands on, practical contribution and dedication that contributes so positively to the Mentor Programme.I vividly remember your quiet encouragement and guidance in those early days of selection and matching. How you helped us with those “new school, first day” nerves about being up for the task, fitting in and ultimately being matched successfully with a young mentee.I also remember asking you how to be a good mentor and your simple response was to be myself, be honest and follow my best instincts. Well, it was in fact, that straightforward.There is no mentor guide book. There is no mentoring formulae. And you don’t attempt to mandate one. I believe the programme is so successful, because it encourages us to use life experience and our best instincts in providing a positive context, challenge and support for the young men in our charge.I am most pleased that [my mentee] and I will continue with the relationship we have developed and I will enjoy seeing his continuing growth. I have enjoyed every minute of my mentoring experience with the possible exception of the sleeping bags and primitive conditions at our various get togethers.Not in contention is the fact that I will always count this experience as among the most important personal experiences of my life. I did not think I had it in me. But, you believed I did and, I think you may have been right.

Namadgi School were pleased to host the official media launch of Menslink and the Canberra Raiders ‘Silence is Deadly’ campaign.  The campaign is designed to reduce the stigma associated with young men getting help for mental health issues.The launch was highly successful.  We were in regular contact with Martin Fisk and  Ben Triglone of your organisation to ensure that the event ran smoothly and the media component of the session was coordinated and hassle free.  The agenda included; Marty’s presentation, the informal Q & A session with the Raider’s players, the launch of TV advertisement and media promotion with some of our students.Marty was able to speak frankly and honestly about the importance of mental health for young men and the need for them to have a support network to reach out to. His personal stories and open approach ensured that the boys were engaged and listening. The informal Q & A session from the Raiders players highlighted the need to look out for mates and not be a bystander if something is going wrong. The deep and thoughtful questions that our students asked the players was evidence that their message ‘hit the mark’ – our students shared honestly about their own personal situations.Our Pastoral Care Coordinator has seen more young men seeking help for depression and anxiety as well as other life issues as a result of this presentation. He believes this is a direct result from the message that it’s ok to speak out if things are not going well for you or a mate.We believe that the ongoing media campaign has further heightened our students’ awareness of mental health issues and has resulted in a number of young men approaching our Pastoral Care Coordinator and Youth Support Worker to participate in Menslink programs.We have also had students involved in the mentoring program organised by Menslink. Many of our young men lack direction due to a break down in their relationship with their father, or through not having a significant adult male in their lives. I have been impressed with the generosity of men to help our students in these circumstances though Menslink. The connections made through Menslink have given young men the contact through mentoring not possible in other programs. Thank you for continuing to bring together positive role models with our most vulnerable students.

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For more information, please contact us. All names and some identifying details have been changed to protect confidentiality

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