Men's Health Week 15-21 June (theme: take action for Covid-19) Daily online men's groups to stay sane : ‘How To Hold Your Own Men’s Group’ free ebook
Since lockdown, Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz, founder of MenSpeak Men’s Groups, has been holding weekday lunchtime mini-men’s groups (by donation) to keep men, their families and our communities safe at a time when alcohol consumption and domestic violence figures are rapidly rising.
Mammarella-D’Cruz says: “My small army of graduates and I launched MenCheck-in at lockdown, to keep men calm, connected, safe and sane in times when they might feel like caged animals. Isolation can feel like incarceration and can bring up all sorts of difficult emotions and painful flashbacks from childhood punishment and boarding school, to issues of rebellion and teenage isolation, to the darker, more traumatic unresolved issues that were until recently safely buried away and distracted by a busy life. By sharing our stories they no longer have a hold over us, enabling men to be calmer and more mindful as quarantine continues and we consider the vulnerabilities we might face post-lockdown.”
Mammarella-D’Cruz was triggered by his own childhood daemons, of when his family found themselves on Idi Amin’s death list. Memories of abandoning their home and going into hiding, suddenly losing school friends, church and the isolation from their thriving Goan community in Uganda. Leaving his father behind, they fled to British refugee camps and he developed mental health issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, body dysmorphia and suicidal thoughts. With this behind him, he feels compelled to help others through these difficult times.
Men’s group attendee Bertie, 27, says: "I’ve been recovering from the flu - very likely to be Covid-19 - and I felt anxious and spaced out before the online group, but almost immediately after checking-in I felt much calmer and more stable. I didn't realise how much I'd missed real conversations with good men. It felt like a luxury to be able to chat, hang out, laugh, talk about real issues and feel connected in such a disconnected and chaotic time. The groups are essential for me to maintain my sanity and remember what life is really about."
For Men’s Health Week, Mammarella-D’Cruz will release his free downloadable ebook ‘How To Facilitate An Online Men’s Group’ that gives people the tools and techniques to hold a safe, open, online space for men to speak, be heard and respond calmly and consciously to what’s going on in their lives during the Covid-19 lockdown, with awareness of what might have been triggered from the past, so men can remain present and mindful, rather than unconsciously lashing out due to re-triggered trauma.
MenSpeak men’s groups was launched 20 years ago, holds a dozen drop-in open and closed online groups a month on top of the Covid-19 MenCheck-in mini-groups. MenFacilitate is a full day facilitation training that has helped dozens of groups launch worldwide. It is open to both professional and lay men and women. The free ebook can be downloaded from www.mensgroups.co.uk
Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz, dubbed The Man Whisperer by ‘Newsweek’ in their book ‘The Descent of Men, Investigating Male Suicide’, is regularly featured in the mainstream media. He runs a thriving private practice in London and online working with individuals, partners, groups and businesses.