MEN’S FORUM LAUNCH IN HAMMANSKRAAL: VOICES ON MENTAL HEALTH

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By Lorato Modisenyane

  • The Hammanskraal men’s forum launch provided a crucial platform for men to discuss mental health challenges openly and without judgment.
  • Attendees highlighted the importance of the forum in addressing societal pressures, substance abuse, and the need for community support.
  • Participants expressed hopes for the forum’s growth, greater stakeholder involvement, and the development of sustainable support systems.

The recent launch of a men’s forum in Hammanskraal has ignited critical conversations about mental health among men. The forum, attended by various community members, provided a much-needed platform for men to openly discuss their mental health challenges without fear of judgment.

Sphephelo Skhosana, 21, praised the forum for addressing a typically overlooked issue. “The forum was well thought out as men’s mental health is not something that people take seriously. Men suffer different kinds of abuse daily and often lack a platform or safe space to talk about their challenges freely. This forum will serve as that safe space.”

Tiiseto Sekhoto, 26, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the societal pressures men face. “I think the forum was amazing and much needed. It served as a space for men to interact and talk freely without fear of being judged and deemed weak. Society often judges men harshly when they show their vulnerable side, stemming from the saying ‘Men don’t cry.’ This forum is very much needed.”

For Simon Ntwampe, 70, the forum represents a significant step forward for the community. “The forum will have a huge impact on our community, as we have been sidelined for too long. Most people turn a blind eye when men face challenges. In many cases, due to their helplessness, men abuse alcohol, leading them to neglect their roles as husbands, fathers, providers, and protectors. This forum will give men the confidence to take their rightful places in their households and the community.”

Jan Buys, 66, expressed hope for the forum’s future growth and its potential to tackle unemployment. “My only wish is for this forum to grow from strength to strength and empower men to sustain and provide for their families. Unemployment is very prevalent in our community, so I hope we will share ideas on how to build and motivate each other to open businesses, reducing our reliance on government handouts.”

Jeffrey Mohaudi, 46, emphasised the need for broader community involvement and proper organisational structure. “The forum was a good initiative; however, I hope for more stakeholders and community leaders to be part of the forum. They are the ones who know the challenges faced by men in this community. My wish is for this forum to establish systems for proper monitoring, regular meetings for report-backs, and implementation of resolutions. Executive members of the forum must also receive training, and issues of confidentiality must be enforced to ensure sensitive information is not leaked. By doing so, men will feel safe to talk freely about their issues.”

The men’s forum launch in Hammanskraal underscored the urgent need for safe spaces where men can discuss their mental health challenges without fear of judgment. The diverse perspectives shared by attendees highlight the significance of such initiatives in fostering a supportive community.

 

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