‘Connecting with Young Men’: The Impact of Training in Ireland.

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Paula Carroll
Noel Richardson
Billy Grace


‘Connecting with Young Men’, Unit 6 in ENGAGE, Ireland’s National Men’s Health Training programme was developed to support service providers to engage young in mental health and related services. This study evaluated the impact of Unit 6 on front line service providers’ knowledge, skills, capacity, and practice pre and immediately post-training via questionnaire (n=206). At 1-month post-training interviews were conducted with youth workers (n=11), SPHE (social and emotional health curriculum) teachers (n=3), and sports personnel (n=3) (12-40 mins) to explore their experience of the training and its impact on practice. Overall, feedback regarding training satisfaction was largely positive (8.43±1.43/10). Participants self-reported level of knowledge (p=0.000), skills (p=0.000), capacity to engage (p<0.003) and identify priorities for young men (p<0.001), and success at convincing other service providers within (p<0.001) and beyond (p<0.000) their organization to prioritize engaging young men increased immediately post-training. Nota-bly, 57.3% of service providers said that they would integrate the training into their work practice. Critical components of Unit 6 included (a) the focus on understanding gender as a dynamic construct, (b) the use of experiential and interactive sessions, and (c) the integration of ongoing reflective practice. The provi-sion of more practical tips on ‘how’ to initiate and build relationships with young men as well as including young men’s voices would strengthen the training. Unit 6 has been effective in building capacity among service providers to engage young men. While assessing the longer-term impact of the training on practice is recommended, these findings have implications for those who wish to develop gender-sensitive services for young men elsewhere.

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