As one of the region's most prominent social support organisations, Upper Murray Family Care (UMFC) is marking Men's Health Week by highlighting the importance of programs for boys and young men.
The organisation's CEO, Felicity Williams, said UMFC will sponsor The Man Cave in both Wodonga and Wangaratta to deliver keynote community presentations during August.
"A key focus for UMFC this Men's Health Week is the young boys and adolescents who will grow into our future fathers, community leaders and role models," Ms Williams explained.
Among other services, The Man Cave offers a preventative mental health program that aims to teach young boys about healthy masculinity.
"The presentations will be an opportunity for our communities to benefit from the knowledge and insights The Man Cave has gathered for supporting and nurturing our boys and young men to grow into positive members of our families and communities," Ms Williams said.
Recognising that levels of bullying, behavioural issues, anxiety and depression have been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, UMFC is working to provide resources that can help educate families and community leaders on how to proactively support adolescents to build positive social behaviour.
A key focus for UMFC this Men's Health Week is the young boys and adolescents who will grow into our future fathers, community leaders and role models.- UMFC CEO Felicity Williams
This work includes support for role modelling and mentoring as well as connections with life-affirming community groups such as sporting clubs, creative programs like music, arts and drama, and youth-focussed organisations like scouts, guides and cadets.
To this end, Ms Williams announced that UMFC is also establishing a partnership with Flourish Girl, which works collaboratively with The Man Cave.
Flourish Girl provides programs for adolescent girls to build their confidence and develop an ongoing sense of dignity and self-respect.
"UMFC recognises the need to provide programs that engage with vulnerable adolescents as early as possible," Ms Williams said.
"The Man Cave and Flourish Girl both deliver unique and engaging programs that have achieved positive outcomes for schools and communities throughout Victoria, specifically helping to reverse the negative and toxic influences that many of our young people are exposed to on social media."
More broadly, UMFC exists for children, families and communities in North East Victoria and the Southern Riverina of New South Wales.
The organisation provides support to children and families in times of need.
They have a particular focus on ensuring that the voices of vulnerable people are heard and that everyone has access to care, resources and support options when they need them.