This is such a brilliant idea.
Community worker Mark Kelly has started a ‘Dudes and Dogs’ group to help get men out in the fresh air with their four-legged friends to walk and talk about what’s on their mind.
International studies show that men are far more likely to take their own lives over women, and in Ireland the rate of suicide amongst men is exceptionally higher.
Speaking about the group, Mark Kelly mentions:
“Dudes and Dogs began in the UK as a walking and talking therapy group. The idea being that if guys have something they can focus their attention on like a dog, then they are more likely to talk.
“And if guys are more likely to talk, then we would hope that they would be open to talking about things that are affecting them.” (ref RTE)
Marks’ goal is to challenge the stigma surrounding men’s mental health. The group currently has nine members, with weekly walks being held in Cork city and Ballincollig.
‘‘Any man over 18 is welcome to join our walks,” explains Mark. “You don’t have to have a dog. If you have a dog that’s great. The dog is there as an icebreaker and as a point of connection.”
“Dudes and Dogs have been a huge help to me. And I hope going forward, it will be a help to other men.’’
If you or someone you know would like to take part in Dudes & Dogs, check out their website DudesandDogs to sign up.