Breaking Down Stereotypes for the Aussie Man with Tom Bell
Tom Bell has spent the last fifteen years speaking to people in a real, honest and impactful manner.
He began working with groups of people through The Reach Foundation, with the legendary AFL player, Jim Stynes.
He has worked with over 100,000 people: from high-level corporate executives, professional athletes to your everyday teenager.
His work evolved from working with Jim into the organisation Tomorrow Man.
They’re mission is to disrupt the stereotypes that surround what it means to be an Australian man.
What does it mean to be a bloke today?
And what do we want it to look like tomorrow?
The tide is changing for men young and old and the outdated stereotype is leaving some of our mates, dads, sons, uncles, teammates, workmates and brothers stranded without the tools for a healthy life.
In today’s world a lot of men are suffering as a result of not being able to open up emotionally.
Holding everything together, not showing vulnerability, being the mate, the partner, the dad, the brother without a space to let go and be supported is taking its toll.
Suicide is the biggest killer in Australian men between 15-44.
This podcast was an emotional one for me after losing my brother, Sam to suicide last year.
Yet, part of me wants to learn and understand suicide more and to be able to play a part in suicide prevention. More needs to be done.
Through my own grief after Sam’s death I realised just how important our connections are with the people we love in order to find strength and resilience.
I feel as a woman that asking for support is something that’s accepted. Yet I’ve watched a lot of men that I care deeply for suffer from the pain of mental illness, from ex-boyfriends, to friends to my brother, and also those men who have been my patients.
I’ve heard a consistent message from them that they don’t always feel ok with sharing their struggles and vulnerabilities or in getting help, and that’s really something I wanted to learn more from Tom about.
I found out about Tom when I called my friend Claire Eardley for some support: Claire’s son Kai sadly ended his own life in 2016. She has since started the kaifella foundation and has raised over $100,000.
To quote Claire from the website:
I believe a peer-based program available to young men, which helps to erase the tough macho stigma associated with our Australian male culture, and provides them with some skills to navigate mental illness and crises they will inevitably endure in life, is an important piece of education that is not available in our education curriculum today.
If you wish to donates will go directly to support delivery of the program, Man Up, currently being delivered in Victoria and Ireland by Tomorrow Man facilitators Tom (who you hear in this interview) and Tom Harkin
Tomorrow Man aim to disrupt and evolve the stereotype of masculinity - where did the rules originate and who made them?
They want to redefine what it means to be a man and provide a relevant emotional skill set that can be applied in the real world for the men of today and tomorrow.
Enabling men to strengthen their emotional muscle allows them to develop stronger supportive relationships, express themselves with clarity and confidence when under pressure and most importantly gives them the ability to ask for support when they need it without feeling weak or like a failure.
They work in education, sporting clubs professional and amateur, workplaces and partner with aligned brands on unique projects with a social impact. Tom and I caught up at Hotel Miami – a new co-work, studio and event space. They were wonderful hosts to us with this podcast and I just want to give a little shout out to Darren for letting us use the family heirlooms for this interview: http://hotelmiami.com.au
I hope you enjoy this episode with Tom Bell