Unit 7

Men in the Middle

Aim of Workshop

To assist a broad range of practitioners and service providers to develop practical strategies for effectively engaging with middle-aged men around mental health and wellbeing issues.


  1. Explore how to create a ‘safe space’ for working with middle-aged men.
  2. Demonstrate why we need to work with middle-aged men to improve their mental health.
  3. Empathise with the world of middle-aged men, the key issues that they face, and some of the particular pressures upon / difficulties facing them.
  4. Help participants to reflect on their own value base, experience, attitudes towards and expectations of men, generally, and middle-aged men specifically, and how this might impact upon their interactions.
  5. Examine the protective factors for good mental health and wellbeing in middle-age men.
  6. Explore examples of what works in practice / what a male-friendly service looks like.
  7. Signpost participants to further sources of help, advice, guidance and support.

One Day Workshop Programme Outline


Arrival / settling in

  • Registration
  • Tea / coffee
  • Pre-training evaluation (if applicable)

Welcome, scene setting, and creating a safe space

  • Welcome and thanks for coming
  • Housekeeping announcements
  • Background to ‘Men in the Middle’
  • What is a ‘middle-aged man’?
  • Model of working together
  • Introductions
  • Developing a group contract / ground rules

Why focus upon middle-aged men and mental health?

  • What does mental health mean to me?
  • Defining ‘mental health’
  • The evidence of need
  • Explanation of key terms

Mapping the journey into middle-age

  • Key milestones for men on the journey into middle-age
  • What does a ‘successful’ middle-aged man look like?
  • Narratives about middle-age masculinity
  • ‘Middle-Aged Men and Suicide in Ireland’ report

Comfort break


Bags and baggage

  • Personal strengths and weaknesses in relation to working with middle-aged men around mental health

We’re on the road to nowhere

  • ‘Jack’s Story’ – Part 1: The road to meltdown
  • Empathising with at risk groups of middle-aged men
  • Factors that can push a middle-aged man towards / over the edge



Good (protective) walls make good neighbours

  • ‘Jack’s Story’ – Part 2: Re-building his life
  • Key turning points and prompts for positive action in middle-aged men’s lives.
  • Creating a safe and protective environment for middle-aged men

Comfort break


I wouldn’t start from here

  • Ireland as a world leader in men’s health
  • What does a ‘male-friendly’ environment look like to middle-aged men?
  • Top tips for do’s and don’ts when engaging this age group
  • Best practice evidence

Pulling it all together

  • Synopsis of the issues covered
  • Evaluation forms (if applicable)
  • Signposting to sources of information, help and support
  • Final round of feedback
  • Acknowledgements and thanks


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Hearing people speak from the heart about their lives encourages one to do the same.


The course has made me aware that everyone goes through similar struggles, worries, fears and concerns, that having support is key and you can find it on a course like this one.

This course had a different form that I expected. I’m glad that it required me to get involved and allowed me to practice expressing my own feelings which I had problems with.

Hearing people speak from the heart about their lives encourages one to do the same.