It was a cry for help from a parent that made Menslink realise that a growing number of primary school boys were in need of mental health support.

Now 10 to 12-year-old boys make up 12 per cent of the male support group’s client case, which CEO Martin Fisk said was not unusual and reflected the national situation.

The ACT Government will provide $100,000 over two years to support Menslink’s mental health support program for schoolboys aged 10 to 12 years, enough to fund two new counsellors.

Menslink, through its sponsorship program, will match the funding dollar for dollar.

“Already we’ve had young guys affected by family violence both as victims and unfortunately as users of violence themselves. We’ve seen young guys suicidal in primary schools largely through bullying,” Mr Fisk said.

In the initial case a mother approached Menslink because her primary school aged son was suicidal as a result of family violence trauma that he’d experienced growing up and then the issues associated with moving to a new city.

“It struck me that here was a need that wasn’t limited to this one family, that there were a lot of kids in that boat,” he said.

Mr Fisk said the decision to offer a service to that age group had been backed by educators, police and other community organisations who saw there was a real need.

– Ian Bushnell

Read more: Why Primary School Boys Need Intervention

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