The Top Blokes Foundation is an Australian-based non-government organisation that addresses young men’s health outcomes and provides social education programs to young men and boys. Founded in 2006, Top Blokes Foundation has worked with Australian young men to improve their behaviour, wellbeing and their relationship with schools and communities.
Non-governmental organizations - commonly referred to as NGOs, are usually non-profit independent of governments, many are active in humanitarian or social areas, however, NGOs can also be as lobby groups for corporations, such as the World Economic Forum. NGOs is also sometimes expanded to nongovernmental or nongovernment organizations. They are thus a subgroup of all organizations founded by citizens, which include clubs and other associations that provide services, benefits, and premises only to members. Sometimes the term is used as a synonym of "civil society organization" to refer to any association founded by citizens, but this is not how the term is normally used in the media or everyday language, as recorded by major dictionaries. The explanation of the term by NGO.org is ambivalent. It first says an NGO is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level, but then goes on to restrict the meaning in the sense used by most English speakers and the media: Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information.
Men's health refers to a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, as experienced by men, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Differences in men's health compared to women's can be attributed to biological factors, behavioural factors and social factors. These often relate to structures such as male genitalia or to conditions caused by hormones specific to, or most notable in, males. Some conditions that affect both men and women, such as cancer, and injury, also manifest differently in men. Men's health issues also include medical situations in which men face problems not directly related to their biology, such as gender-differentiated access to medical treatment and other socioeconomic factors. Some diseases that affect both genders are statistically more common in men. Outside Sub-Saharan Africa, men are at greater risk of HIV/AIDS – a phenomenon associated with unsafe sexual activity that is often nonconsensual.
A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools. The names for these schools vary by country but generally include primary school for young children and secondary school for teenagers who have completed primary education. An institution where higher education is taught, is commonly called a university college or university, but these higher education institutions are usually not compulsory.
Top Blokes Foundation was founded in Wollongong, New South Wales, by Melissa Abu-Gazaleh in 2006. After receiving a youth change grant from Foundation for Young Australians, the Top Blokes Foundation was registered as a non-government organisation and began hosting award programs to promote volunteerism by young males.
In 2012, the Top Blokes Foundation established mentoring programs to address the health outcomes of young males and delivers long-term mentoring programs in schools and communities.
In 2015, the Top Blokes Foundation joined the Safe Schools Coalition – a national campaign to reduce homophobia and transphobia in Australian schoolsand later that year, Abu-Gazaleh was awarded NSW Young Australian of the Year and Illawarra Entrepreneur of the Year.
The Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA) was a national network of organisations working with school communities to create safer and more inclusive environments for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families.
Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It has been defined as contempt, prejudice, aversion, hatred or antipathy, may be based on irrational fear and ignorance, and is often related to religious beliefs.
Transphobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes, feelings or actions toward transgender or transsexual people, or toward transsexuality. Transphobia can include fear, aversion, hatred, violence, anger, or discomfort felt or expressed towards people who do not conform to society's gender expectation. It is often expressed alongside homophobic views and hence is often considered an aspect of homophobia. Transphobia is a type of prejudice and discrimination, similar to racism and sexism, and transgender people of color are often subjected to all three forms of discrimination at once.
The below statistics underpins the Top Blokes Foundation rationale for focusing on young male health:
• Suicide is the leading cause of death for males 15–24 years;
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse—including alcoholism and the use of benzodiazepines—are risk factors. Some suicides are impulsive acts due to stress, such as from financial difficulties, relationship problems such as breakups, or bullying. Those who have previously attempted suicide are at a higher risk for future attempts. Effective suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to methods of suicide—such as firearms, drugs, and poisons; treating mental disorders and substance misuse; careful media reporting about suicide; and improving economic conditions. Even though crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.
• One in four teenagers have experienced an unwanted sexual encounter;
Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Because it is a broad term, which has varied over time, it lacks a precise definition. The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the human reproductive functions, including the human sexual response cycle. Someone's sexual orientation is their pattern of sexual interest in the opposite or same sex. Physical and emotional aspects of sexuality include bonds between individuals that are expressed through profound feelings or physical manifestations of love, trust, and care. Social aspects deal with the effects of human society on one's sexuality, while spirituality concerns an individual's spiritual connection with others. Sexuality also affects and is affected by cultural, political, legal, philosophical, moral, ethical, and religious aspects of life.
• 75% of mental health problems emerge before the age of 25;
Mental health is the level of psychological well-being or an absence of mental illness. It is the state of someone who is "functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life, and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others." The WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health".
• Young men are three times more likely to die in an accident than young women
• The average age young men view pornographic material is 11 years old;
• 90 lives were lost to one punch assaults between 2000 and 2013.
The Top Blokes Foundation's mission is to foster the inclusion, build the resilience and ensure the well-being of Australian young males.The foundation aims to achieve this mission through four core programs.
Junior Top Blokes Mentoring Program
A 16-week boys mentoring program delivered by Youth Workers in schools for boys aged 14–17. This program was developed in 2011 to address the growing trend of negative risk taking and antisocial behaviours often associated with young men.Topics this program addresses includes:
• Alcohol and Other Drugs;
• Mental Health;
• Sexting and Online Behaviour;
• Anger management;
An 8-week mentoring program for young males who experience unemployment and other social barriers to achieving health. The program allows men who participate to volunteer off their unpaid fines with the NSW Office of State Revenue.
This program provides education to the community on issues impacting young male health.
These presentations for parents, teachers, educators and young people utilises current research, Top Blokes Foundation experiences, program evaluations and case studies to educate and empower the audience through presentations and interactive workshops.
National Boy's Health Forum
This annual forum is the Top Blokes Foundation's key advocacy platform and features key researchers, practitioners and advocates who present on emerging social issues affecting young males health and well-being. The 2015 National Health Forum featured speakers including His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley,Dr Jo River, Melissa Abu-Gazaleh and Top Blokes Foundation Youth Ambassadors.
Mission Australia is a national Christian charity that provides a range of community services throughout Australia. In 2017–18, Mission Australia employed approximately 2800 staff and 1750 volunteers, and supported more than 119,000 children, young people, adults and elderly people across 461 programs and services. The organisation specialises in the areas of homelessness and housing, families and children, early learning, youth, employment and skills, alcohol and other drugs, disability, mental health, and strengthening communities. James Toomey became CEO in November 2017, succeeding Catherine Yeomans, who served as CEO from March 2014.
The Division of Throsby was an Australian electoral division in the state of New South Wales. The division was named after Charles Throsby, a prominent pioneer and explorer in the early nineteenth century of the areas to the south of Sydney.
The Wayside Chapel is a charity and Parish Mission of the Uniting Church in Australia in the Potts Point area of Sydney. Situated near Sydney's most prominent red-light district in Kings Cross, the Wayside Chapel offers programs and services which attempt to ensure access to health, welfare, social and recreation services. The centre assists homeless people and others on the margins of society.
Dunlea Centre, prior to 2010 known as Boys' Town Engadine, is an Australian residential secondary school for adolescent young people and their families; the Centre is focused on working with young people where there are identified behavioural issues. Boys' Town Engadine – Dunlea Centre helps children, young people and their families to overcome the most severe disadvantages – problems such as abuse, homelessness, long term unemployment, mental health issues and the challenges of disability. The school is located in the Sydney suburb of Engadine, New South Wales and is run by the Roman Catholic Salesians, a religious order of priests, in conjunction with specialist teachers and social workers.
Gareth James Ward, an Australian politician, is the New South Wales Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services in the second Berejiklian ministry since April 2019. Ward is also a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Kiama for the Liberal Party since 2011.
St John of God Health Care is Australia's third largest private hospital operator, with 24 hospitals and facilities comprising more than 3,400 beds. The group operates in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, and New Zealand.
Homelessness in Australia is a social issue concerning the number of people in Australia that are considered to be homeless. There are no internationally agreed upon definitions of homelessness, making it difficult to compare levels of homelessness across countries. A majority of people experiencing homelessness long-term in Australia are found in the large cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. It is estimated that on any given night approximately 105,000 people will be homeless and many more are living in insecure housing, "one step away from being homeless". A person who does not obtain any shelter is often described as sleeping 'rough'.
Adolescent health, or youth health, is the range of approaches to preventing, detecting or treating young people’s health and well being.
Gender inequality can be defined as the unequal treatment of individuals based on their gender. Individuals can be marginalised and discriminated from society and be restricted to participate in society due to their gender. In Australia, gender inequality denotes the inconsistencies between individuals due to gender. Australian women, men, and transgender and non-binary people all experience aspects of gender inequality. The sections below explain how and why women, men, and transgender and non-binary people experience gender inequality in their daily lives in Australia.
In 2016, the suicide rate in Australia was 5.7 deaths per 100,000 people, down from 6.6 per 100,000 people in 2007. 2,866 people died from suicide in Australia in 2016. The World Health Organization reported the rate of suicide in Australia at 10.4 per 100,000 people per year. The Australian Department of Health reported that the age standardised rate of suicide decreased from 14.7 per 100,000 people in 1997, to 10.3 in 2005.
headspace, formally the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, is an Australian non-profit organisation for youth mental health established by the Australian government in 2006. The project is funded by the Department of Health and Ageing under the Youth Mental Health Initiative Program.
One Door Mental Health is the new name for the Schizophrenia Fellowship of New South Wales Inc (SFNSW) a community based not for profit organisation that provides a range of services for people with mental illness, their families, and carers. One Door Mental Health operates predominantly in the Australian state of New South Wales.
Men's sheds or community sheds are non-profit local organisations that provide a space for craftwork and social interaction. The movement originated in Australia as a way to improve the health and wellbeing of older men. However some have expanded their remit to anyone regardless of age or gender, and have similar aims and functions to hackerspaces. There are over 900 located across Australia, with thousands of active members. Men's sheds can also be found in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, United States, Canada, Finland, New Zealand and Greece.
Amity College is an independent, non-denominational school that is currently operating in three different campuses in Prestons, the Illawarra, and Auburn.
The Mount Pritchard Mounties Rugby League Football Club is an Australian rugby league football club based in Mount Pritchard, New South Wales formed in 1927. They currently play in the NSW Cup, Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield. Mounties are the current feeder club side for The Canberra Raiders.
The Illawarra Rugby League Football Club were an Australian rugby league football club based in Illawarra formed in 2012. Originally known as the Illawarra Cutters, they became known as the Illawarra RLFC before the 2017 Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
MindSpot Clinic (MindSpot) is Australia's first free national online mental health clinic which launched in December 2012. It provides screening assessments and internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) courses for Australians troubled by stress, worry, anxiety and depression.
Professor Maree Rose Teesson AC, FAAHMS, FASSA, is an Australian expert on mental health. She is the Director of The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use and NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. She is also professorial fellow at the Black Dog Institute, UNSW.
Reece Robson is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who plays as a hooker for the North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL.