Local Ipswich News, Ipswich Local and Helping Support Minds have joined forces to host the inaugural For the Boys Fest, a family-friendly event that celebrates International Men’s Day while raising awareness of men’s mental health. By Rachel Vickary.
A very special event is coming to Ipswich this month. On November 20, the inaugural For the Boys Fest event will kick off to celebrate International Men’s Day, while raising awareness of men’s mental health and wellness. It’s a perfect day for dads to spend time with their kids at a fun, community event that offers something for everyone.nEvent creator, David Johnston, is passionate about helping to empower men and boys to understand, and take charge of, their mental health, with the very important message that it’s never weak to ask for help.nIt’s estimated that, each year, an average of nine Aussies die by suicide daily (ABS 2020), and three quarters of those who do take their lives are men, so bringing men’s mental health out into the open, starting the conversations, and offering real and meaningful help and information has never been more important.n“Normalising mental health issues, taking away the stigma, and encouraging men to understand that sometimes it’s ok to not be ok, and challenging gender ‘norms’ that make it harder for men to seek help,” David said.n“Often, young boys are told to ‘man up’ or that ‘boys don’t cry’, so they grow up feeling like it’s not ok to share their feelings when they’re doing it tough, or that if they’re struggling that they’re weak or not ‘manly’.n“It’s this stigma, and these ingrained beliefs, that prevent men from reaching out and asking for help which is why this event is so important for the community. The event will raise money for Beyond Blue, Wounded Heroes and Ipswich Men’s Shed, to help men of all ages.n“For the Boys Fest is a day where men and families can come together for a fun day out at the Ipswich Showgrounds. There will be a range of mental health support organisations on hand to help empower men to better understand their own mental health and wellness, and giving them access to support services.”
nSpecial guest, Olympian Steven Bradbury, will be at the event, to help support and raise awareness for men’s mental health. Steven, who was literally the last man standing when he won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics, has become an enduring part of the Aussie lexicon. ‘Doing a Bradbury’ has come to mean being the last one standing at the end, and showcases the values and merits of standing strong, having belief in yourself, even when the going gets tough, and staying the course – all lessons he’s more than happy to share with blokes at the event.
nSteven and his team will pop up with his craft beer brand, Last Man Standing, serving up cold ones and chatting to attendees. Steven said he’s keen to be part of For the Boys Fest and that, while there are plenty of events around to support causes for women and children, there’s not much around that focuses on raising awareness for men’s mental health issues.n“Mental health gets so much attention now,” Steven said.n“But, as an Aussie bloke in my 40s, there is a real tendency to feel like you don’t want to burden others, or feeling like I just need to deal with stuff on myself.n“This event will give men a chance to have a chat and be open about their own mental health.”nSteven is no stranger to helping raise funds and awareness for important charities. He has been involved with Classics for a Cause, a charity that raises money for war veterans by auctioning off classic cars.n“There are a lot of men who are war vets who maybe haven’t been looked after as well as they should be, especially after they’ve been fighting for our country, so Classics for a Cause helps raise money for four different veteran’s charities.”
nThe event, which will run from 2pm to 9pm, will feature live music on two stages, a car show, kid’s entertainment, food trucks, a bar, special guest – Olympian Steven Bradbury, and a men’s mental health information expo, as well as the inaugural Tug of War Shield.n“The event is all about helping men and boys to recognise, detect, treat and protect their mental health and wellbeing, with a series of expert mental health service providers and ‘Walk to Talk’ events on the day.n“We plan to hold this event each year to raise awareness of the issues of men’s mental health and to do everything we can to help combat the impacts. We want to help take away the stigma associated with mental health issues. And we want men to know that it’s not weak to ask for help.n“To make the event as successful as possible, we’re inviting businesses and organisations to get on board as sponsors and event partners.”nTo find out more about becoming an event sponsor, contactnDavid Johnston at David.firstname.lastname@example.org
About the eventnFor the Boys Fest is a free, family-friendly community event that celebrates International Men’s Day and raises awareness about men’s mental health. For the Boys Fest will take place from 3-9pm on 20th November at the Ipswich Showgrounds and will feature:n• Special guest, Olympian Steven Bradburyn• Live bands (over two stages),n• Car show,n• BBQs,n• Twilight Marketsn• Beard & moustache competitions (men, women & children invited to participate),n• Kid’s entertainment,n• DIY workshops,n• Food trucks,n• The inaugural shield TUG OF WAR competition, and much more.n• A full family day out!