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International Men's Day in DIO by Head of MOD Guard Service, Trevor McKinnon

Category: testimonial, Mental Health, Health and Wellbeing, Health, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, mental health awareness training, Movember, Men's Health, health awareness, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, employee health, mental health awareness, mental health at work, international men's day

Gender Focus

Head of MOD Guard Service, Trevor McKinnon

Last November I was privileged to host the first International Men's Day event for the MGS embracing contributions from colleagues in the DIO Gender Forum and wider DIO.  The event was a tremendous success covering a wide range of subjects which contributed to lively debate and brought forward several moving and powerful stories from speakers and delegates. The focus was on personal stories around men's health and well-being and the themes of this year's IMD are very much in tune with that, keeping the discussion current.

Since the 2019 event, the world has changed.  The pandemic has impacted all our lives, and no-one can under-estimate the effect on mental health as we all get used to doing things in unfamiliar ways, employing disciplines that nobody employed a year ago and being prevented or changing the way we do things we like to do. For example, I don't know about you, but I cannot watch football on the telly, not because I'm not allowed to but because I find it unwatchable.  Even with artificial crowd noises, to me it just looks like a glorified kick-about with nothing - not even pride - riding on it. For the past 50+ years I have watched football either at the ground or on the telly.  Sunday afternoon revolved around the four o'clock game. But no more.  It might seem like a small thing, but for me it's a big adjustment obliging me to put my mind to other things.  But I can't find the motivation.  That makes me feel lazy, which my dad, were he here, would tell you is my natural state, but it’s not where my mind wants to be, so mentally I am having to adjust, when I'd rather not have to. On the upside the weekend has become a time to rest and re-charge. Of course, the restrictions on our lives have provided opportunities to strengthen relationships and have those positive conversations that this year's IMD intends to encourage. For example, I have found myself talking to my two sons about adjusting to working from home as a shared experience, and they certainly have the balance right, but for the first time I can remember since they were five years old, I do believe they are actually listening to me! While it has taken a pandemic to bring about that happy state, it should of course be part of everyday existence and I would urge you all to use International Men's Day as a way of focussing on those things that really matter and breathing in some different air.

By Trevor McKinnon, Head of MOD Guard Service.


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