On International Men's Day, we celebrate the journey of men, their mental health, and their vital role within all family types. As a family law firm, we know men face unique challenges, particularly those navigating the complexities of divorce and separation. We know it's important to shed light on an exceptional initiative that offers men tremendous support going through tough times, The Men's Table. This transformative group, founded in 2011, has been creating ripples of positive change in the lives of men and the broader community. In this blog post, we delve into the findings of The Ripple Effect study, highlighting the profound impact of The Men's Table on individuals and society at large, and emphasising its role in promoting healthy masculinity and enhancing community wellbeing.
Creating safe spaces for authentic connections
The Relationship Indicators 2022 Report (from Relationships Australia) found that men are more likely to experience loneliness than women and people who reported lasting impacts from a relationship breakdown were 1.5 times lonelier than those who didn’t have these experiences. The evidence is clear, divorce and separation takes a toll on mental health, and men are more likely to feel men isolated and struggle to connect emotionally and socially.
The Relationships Australia Report also shows that group-based connections are important for wellbeing and The Men's Table is a group that provide a safe space for men to connect, share, and learn from their own personal experiences. Here, men can open up about the highs and lows of their lives, fostering healthy expressions of masculinity and offering a lifeline to those facing challenging life transitions.
The fundamentals of The Men's Table
Central to the success of The Men's Table are the Fundamentals – an evidence-based set of guidelines that create a sense of psychological safety. These principles promote open-hearted sharing, compassionate active listening, and nonviolent communication, enabling men to communicate authentically and build deeper, more meaningful relationships.
The Positive Ripple Effect on men
The Ripple Effect study reveals that men who participate in The Men's Table experience transformative benefits. They learn to embrace healthier expressions of masculinity, moving beyond restrictive stereotypes. Healthy masculinity encompasses behaviours and mindsets that support better mental health, relationship building, and contributions to the community. As men engage with The Men's Table, they model and practice these healthier forms of masculinity. You can find a full copy of the Ripple Effect Report here.
Overcoming isolation and promoting emotional health
It can be hard for men to rediscover purpose post separation and a find safe spaces andpeople to share inner experiences with. The Men's Table helps address this issue by providing a supportive environment for men to connect and share their personal experiences and struggles without judgement. They aim for a deep connection, with their tag line being ‘we don’t just talk about footy and sh*t’. As a result, men report increased emotional availability, better communication skills, and improved mental health during challenging life transitions.
The Ripple Effect beyond the tables
The positive impacts of The Men's Table don't stop at the individual level. Women, who are often outsiders to the experience of sitting at the Tables, play a vital role in the ripple effect and all notice a positive change in men who have taken the opportunity to be a part of this community;
“I’ve noticed that he’s leaned in to have difficult conversations that he didn’t have in the past. And it’s hard to have conversations you sort of need to have. To give yourself permission - possibly courage. I’d say that’s some of what he’s received through those dialogues he has once a month at his Table.” Woman (partner of man at Table)
Women affirm that The Men's Table is a safe place for men to model and express healthy masculinities, which benefits not only men but also their close relationships, families, and communities.
Fostering healthy communities
As men embrace healthier expressions of masculinity, they contribute positively to their close relationships, families, and communities. Family harmony strengthens, and women experience improved mental health and better social lives.
‘The Men’s Table has definitely helped him build deeper connections with more people. There’s a diversity of different types of people from different age groups that he’s connected deeply with. After his Table he spends quite a lot of time reflecting. He’s become a lot more open with how he feels and I really take comfort in the fact that he feels so comfortable to be able to express himself with us. He definitely listens without fixing to a greater extent now and he definitely empathises more. He just tries to be a lot more present whether that be with his grandkids, with me and my siblings or with Mum. He has become a lot more mindful. He’s become a lot more perceptive.” Ivy (daughter of man at Table)
Through community involvement and active participation, The Men's Table builds healthier communities, sending positive ripples throughout society.
On International Men's Day, we celebrate the resilience and strength of men, especially those navigating the many life challenges including separation and navigating the new chapter of co-parenting. The Men's Table stands as a beacon of hope and support for men seeking to build healthier expressions of masculinity and contribute positively to their communities. As a family law firm, we recognise the critical role that initiatives like The Men's Table play in promoting men's mental health and overall wellbeing. The mission of The Men's Table – "Healthy Men, Healthy Masculinities, Healthy Communities" – embodies the essence of positive change and community support that we hold dear.
If you would like to join a Mens Table, follow this link, and join an entrée to secure your space on a table near you. If you, or someone you know would like a confidential discussion on your family law matter including parenting, separation and property, please reach out to our friendly team who have been trained in Truma Informed Practice. If you’re looking for a positive way forward, our team can help you on the next steps in your next chapter. Contact us to easily book a free initial consultation via our online booking link or call us on 02 5114 2660.