Brothers4Brothers - Men Helping Men With Mental Health
As life gets busier & more stressful many of us forget to make our mental & physical health a priority. Knowing this inspired Willie Bishop, the Head Trainer at F45 Brookvale, to create the Brothers4Brothers support group.
In a recent conversation with Neighbourhood Media, Willie told us how the group came to be and how they support men’s mental health, particularly in Dee Why.
What was the major inspiration behind the foundation of Brothers4Brothers?
The inspiration behind Brothers4Brothers actually came from my marriage separation. Being married for 17 years but then separated for two I hit rock bottom and went through deep anxiety and depression. I was also very suicidal at that time as well.
Then one morning I had a penny-drop moment and made the decision on the spot to become a better man and role model for my two younger boys at the time. After two years I was able to reconcile my marriage and save my family.
Now 5 years on we have two new additions to our family. Having experienced all of that and coming through the other side gave me a passion to help other men.
How big of an issue is men's mental health in Australia?
I believe there's still a massive stigma around men's mental health. Which is why I believe so many men continue to take their own lives.
I truly believe that men's groups, like Brothers4Brothers and others, are so important for our mental health and well-being. It's a safe space where we can talk and unpack.
How does Brothers4Brothers help support mental health awareness & improve mental health overall?
Brothers4Brothers is a safe and comfortable space where men can talk and show vulnerability without judgment or expectation.
We facilitate one-day workshops where we speak about vulnerability and breaking the stigma around this issue. We also have weekly Zoom chats as an opportunity to check in with each other and keep each other accountable.
We also have fortnightly walks that are open to our community.
The work we do in this space doesn't discriminate. It's open to all men from all walks of life.
What separates Brothers4Brothers from other men's mental health/support groups?
We value family, culture, connection and community. The reason why family is first to me is because I lost mine in the past. What I went through I don't want any man to experience. So family first always.
In saying that, understanding your culture and where some of your behaviours may come from is really important to understand. Having a genuine connection is what I search for these days.
The relationships and friendships I choose to form are now based on the heart and soul of a person. Not what's on the outside.
I believe with these values we are able to connect with like-minded men, and people to build community and awareness in this space.
Have you found that tackling mental health outside of a traditional setting allows men to open up more?
I never felt a genuine connection when I was seeking professional help. Just by chance, I connected with someone through sports which was my outlet that I felt really comfortable around. To this day he mentors me and has educated me so much that I now find myself in his shoes educating and helping others.
Who specifically is Brothers4Brothers designed for?
The work we do in this space doesn't discriminate. Our home is open to any man, or teenager that is looking for growth, self-development, connection and community.
In terms of our Dee Why issue, what should men in the area be on the lookout for from Brothers4Brothers?
Through this journey, I've learnt that sometimes people come and go for whatever reason. I just want our community to be aware of who we are and what our vision is. To create a safe space where men can talk and show vulnerability without judgement or expectation. It's simple.
What are some of the highlights coming up in the next few months for Brothers4Brothers?
Our next major event coming up is going to be supporting the Suicide Prevention Day Walk. It's something we supported last year and will continue to do again this year.
I'm in the process of looking at speaking in high schools and running mental health and wellbeing workshops for years 7/8. I believe early intervention is the key.
We’ll continue to gather fortnightly as a brotherhood to build connection and community.
I'll also continue to do one one-on-one mentoring with men.
For more information about Brothers4Brothers, head to www.brothers4brothers.com.au