Men’s wellness forum off to small but good start

Last Thursday’s meeting here on men’s wellness issues only drew 10 participants but those who did arrive were “very eager to discuss the issues,” the facilitator said.
Bill Morgenstern, who helped facilitate the meeting at Huffman School in conjunction with the Northwestern Health Unit, said Fort Frances had one of the better turnouts of those held across the region.
“At this point, all it was was an information gathering session,” Morgenstern said. “Recognizing issues surrounding men’s wellness need to be looked at–and there isn’t a lot of active support mechanisms to answer such concerns.”
Bob Jeffery, a health planner at the Northwestern Health Unit here who facilitated a similar meeting last week in Sioux Lookout, stressed the focus of these groups is to find ways to improve health, which encompasses physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
“It’s looking at lifestyles that are healthy, productive, and conducive to relationships,” Morgenstern said.
But one of the biggest stumbling blocks in improving men’s wellness is getting people to talk about it, Jeffery said.
“This is a relatively new issue to talk about,” he noted. “The people who show up find it extremely interesting, which is indicating there were a lot more people thinking of coming out but we’re not being over run with people.”
Other meetings were held in Kenora, Dryden, and Red Lake. The information gathered then will be chewed over at a conference in Eagle Lake Paradise Resort later this month.
At that point, the health unit will try to decipher what sort of issues need to be addressed for men’s wellness, and whether they should be tackled on a regional or local level, or both.
“Basically, we’ll start a war plan [on health issues],” Jeffery said.
“People need to get together and act on it,” agreed Morgenstern. “As one guy said, there’s crisis houses for women but there’s nothing for men.”