A number of celebrity speakers from across Australia are getting behind International Men’s Day (IMD) and this year’s Australian theme – “Celebrating Mateship”.
International Men’s Day takes place on Saturday 19 November 2022 and the aim of the “Celebrating Mateship” theme is to inspire more men to #MakeTime4Mates.
According to mental health advocate and keynote speaker Nick Bracks mateship is “one of the most important things to have for better mental health”. Bracks believes that mateship is all about having unconditional support from friends.
You should always have 3-5 people in your life that you can rely on unconditionally, so you can reach out to them when you are feeling low. Friends help you out of dark places and always have your back, mateship changes everything! - Nick Bracks
Many Australian men find mateship through playing and following sport, so it’s great to see stars from a range of sporting codes putting their weight behind International Men’s Day.
Alongside retired wheelchair tennis player Alcott and former cricketer McGrath, speakers from the world of sport who are backing this year’s International Men’s Day include former AFL player and mental health advocate Wayne Schwass, Henry Olonga, the first black cricketer to represent Zimbabwe, tennis coach Roger Rasheed, former AFL player and founder of the Whitelion youth charity, Glenn Manton and Indigenous Australia Sports Commentator Charlie King OAM.
As well as being one of Australia’s most successful and well recognised Paralympians, Alcott has also become a leading role model for people with a disability. He is one of several disability advocates supporting this year’s International Men’s Day alongside Dr Dinesh Palipana, founder of Doctors with Disabilities, and Wayne Herbert, author of the book Anecdotes of a Disabled Guy
Herbert is also an advocate for the LGBTIQ community. He serves on the ACT Government’s LGBTIQ ministerial advisory council and is a board of the ACT AIDS Action Council.
Media personality Günsberg is one of several mental health advocates getting who see International Men’s Day as a great opportunity to talk about men’s mental health.
Günsberg has been open about his struggle with anxiety and depression and offers keynote talks about his experiences in an effort to help others with similar challenges.
Other great speakers keen to use IMD as an opportunity to talk about mental health include media personality Gus Worland, actor and charity boss Sam Webb, medic and magician Dr Vyom Sharma, resilience coach Matt Hughes, Founder of SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY Mitch McPherson.
Also focused on mental health is speaker Craig Hollywood who founded the volunteer-led initiative Short Back & Sidewalks, which provides social connection to vulnerable members of the community by offering free haircuts.
In a similar vein, "The Streets’ Barber" and inspirational speaker Nasir Sobhani supports mateship by taking to Melbourne’s streets offering free haircuts and shaves to the homeless and less fortunate.
Nasir compares the power of mateship to recharging a phone.
When a cell phone is flat you must charge it and plug it into a power source and to me sometimes that connection you can have with a mate is that power source - Nasir Sobhani
“Sometimes our batteries are flat, and we can derive energy and power from that one positive source. We can be a positive power source for people too, and connection is so important and that’s the best way to draw that power. True mateship can’t be established without connection.”
Another man keen to talk about his work tackling disadvantage on International Men’s Day is Isiah Dawe, who was abandoned by his foster carer when he was 17. This experience was the genesis for Isaiah to create ID. Know Yourself, the first Aboriginal-led organisation delivering 1:1 mentoring and support to Aboriginal children in Out-of-Home Care and the Juvenile Justice system.
Isaiah says: “We have our ups and downs, the good times and the bad times in life, and mateship is about having someone that celebrates with you in the good times but also someone that can hold space for you in the dark times, someone that you can share the adventures of life with.”
A growing number of employers are using International Men’s Day to engage with their staff’s wellbeing. Some popular workplace speakers who support IMD include Russell Ord and Shanan Worrall.
The boys from Margaret River in WA became great mates after Russell saved Shanan’s life during a wipeout on an offshore wave the size of a building. They now deliver talks on workplace safety, risk mitigation and emotional resilience … with a twist!
Professor Ben Hamer, one of Australia’s few accredited futurists and a global expert on the Future of Work, is also a sought-after keynote speaker on the topic of life and work in the future, and what it all means for organisations, leaders, and workers.
He says: “Mateship is so important to me, people I can be my true self around with no sort of pretense or expectation and we can just enjoy each other’s company, be there for one another and have that unwavering trust.”