The aim of the ‘Engage’ National Men’s Health Training Programme is to increase participants’ understanding of best practice when seeking to connect males with health and social services.

Engage offers a range of one-day workshops to a broad range of practitioners.  The programme was developed to address the deficit in gender sensitive service provision for men, and assist practitioners to build relationships & meet the health and wellbeing needs of males of all ages.

The content is based upon the partners’ practice experience and evidence from academic literature.  All Engage materials are rigorously field-tested and evaluated, workshops are co-produced alongside the facilitation team.

Engage Facilitators – all our Trainers are Volunteers who deliver the programme in their free time or with their employers approval. Engage could not run without their passion and commitment to improving men’s health. We wish to record our sincere thanks to all of them!

History of the Programmes

Initially, five Engage ‘Units’ were developed collectively forming a programme titled ‘Engaging Men in Health’  which explored how gender & social determinants affect health, and how values & attitudes of practitioners and how they consult with men can shape health outcomes.

Later, in 2015, Unit 6 was added to the programme.  This specifically looks at ‘Connecting with Young Men’ – especially in relation to their mental health.

‘Men in the Middle’ (Unit 7) was created in 2018, and focuses upon how to engage middle-aged men in order to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

A further Unit called ‘On Feirm Ground’, was developed in 2020 and has been rolled out nationally with and for agricultural advisors, it works to support and improve the health and wellbeing of farmers through engagement and signposting.

2022 saw the development of the new generic ‘Connecting with Men’ Programme. The programme focuses on building the capacity of service providers to engage men in relation to their health and wellbeing. This programme incorporates key learnings and approaches from its predecessors, including ‘Engaging Men in Health’, ‘Connecting with Young Men’, and ‘Men in the Middle’.

There are two types of Engage training:

Training for Trainers – an intensive, mostly residential course, designed to give Engage Facilitators the knowledge, skills, experience and support to deliver Engage workshops to others.  These are only run occasionally to meet the ongoing needs of the programme.

Engage Workshops – are delivered by Engage Facilitators  to front-line service providers and practitioners.  These workshops focus on the combined units above, and seek to help participants to increase their understanding of men’s health & enhance their capacity to build relationships with men for improved healthy outcomes.

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Why do Engage?

Are men not interested in looking after their own health, or are we simply not offering them the right things in the right way? …

If you are curious about the answer to this question, and would like practical ideas to help your organisation to engage more effectively with men and boys, then you might be interested in a free one day Engage workshop.

There is an increasing number of organisations / practitioners who are keen to involve men in their programmes and to learn about the most effective means to do this.  Engage workshops have been developed to meet this need.

The workshops assist a broad range of practitioners and service providers to effectively connect with / develop practical strategies for engaging men around health and wellbeing issues.

They focus upon the engagement process (i.e. WHY and HOW to build relationships with men), rather than offering a new health programme (i.e. what to offer them).  This is because workers who have had success in engaging this target group say that if you can get the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ right, then anything is possible.

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How Engage began

The Republic of Ireland was the first country in the world to adopt a National Men’s Health Policy.

This policy highlighted the broad range of health and wellbeing issues facing men and outlined frameworks and strategies to address these needs.  In 2017, this Policy was succeeded by the ‘Healthy Ireland – Men’ Action Plan.

The Policy recognised the important role played by service providers and local practitioners in improving the health of men and boys, and acknowledged that these stakeholders also have training and support needs.

The Engage training programme was developed to address the deficit in gender sensitive service provision for men, and to assist people on the ground to effectively build relationships with / meet the health and wellbeing needs of males of all ages.

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Who's behind Engage?

A unique training resource

In the review of the National Men’s Health Policy, Engage emerged as a key pillar of policy implementation.  It was described as a major and unique training resource, with the capacity to reach significant numbers of front-line service providers.  Since the advent of Engage:

  • 93.4% of service providers that completed the training reported that Engage had impacted their work practices;
  • 39.3% formally committed to men’s health in their work plans and/or are conducting men’s health initiatives within their services – putting men’s health at the top of their priority list; and
  • the country has seen an exponential rise in community outreach programmes to priority groups of men (e.g. ‘Men on the Move‘ – a physical activity programme targeting overweight men).

Ireland’s National Men’s Health Policy and the Healthy Ireland – Men Action Plan has made Ireland a world leader in this field, and added value to the development of other strategies, such as the WHO-Europe Men’s Health Strategy.

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