Putting Men’s Health on the Agenda

Local Charity CLICK Arts Foundation hosted their second “Age of Love Café” on Saturday, this time aimed at understanding men’s mental, emotional and sexual health.
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The “Age of Love Cafes” are a social enterprise, created by Professor Sharron Hinchliff aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults through providing a safe space to have open discussion about sexual, emotional and mental health – her work was recently recognised by the UN’s Report on “A Decade of Healthy Aging”.

Patsy Wright, one of the Trustees of the foundation said “Following our event in Summer focused on Women’s Health we wanted to try and create a similar space for men…with a particular focus on our diverse communities.” Jemma Gambrill another Trustee added “We love partnering with people, such as The Lewis Foundation – providing refreshments today – who understand the importance of creating that open and healthy environment to encourage connectivity and speaking up – whoever you are.”

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The Office of National Statistics finds that 115 people die by suicide every week in the UK, 75% of those deaths are male. Keynote Arthur Diejomaoh, chartered member of the CIPD, ABP certified principal business psychologist and member of the Black Business Psychology Network, highlighted the impact that financial concerns have on mental wellbeing, as well as how our early experiences can shape us. Speaker Arun Shergill of Raur Gymwear Milton Keynes spoke of his personal journey reminding us that we keep going and simply build up more tools along the way; Northamptonshire Actor and Musician MG Grant celebrated the power of the creative arts to support those with Alzheimers express their emotions; and Tim Dwelly, writer for the Duston & Upton Parish newsletter opened the event with a monologue and Q&A on the pressure men can feel to solve all problems themselves.

Keynote speaker Arthur DiejomaohKeynote speaker Arthur Diejomaoh
Keynote speaker Arthur Diejomaoh

Dr Audrey Tang of the British Psychological Society, whose Northampton based Burlesque Squad performed a routine and encouraged the audience to join in the taster session, said of the importance of sexual wellbeing – “Just because we can survive without sex doesn’t mean it isn’t hugely linked to our mental and emotional health…our classes – suitable for men and women – are a low impact workout in a space where we can speak as well as learn to celebrate our bodies for what they do”. Audience members who joined in were surprised at “How much fun” burlesque can be…and “not at all sleezy!”

Dancer Susan McHale added “These events are a great thing, and there is a need for them. So many subjects need to stop being taboo, including sexual health. It's dangerous, as a teacher I have seen and can see situations that happen because of a lack of knowledge, people not being open, feeling ashamed etc. It has to change!”…and making change is certainly something that CLICK Arts Foundation plan to continue into 2024.

You can learn more about the movement here: https://www.ageoflove.org/about and read the UN report: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240079694