Future Men
Man Up / Man DownJanuary 25, 2024x
46:4442.81 MB

Future Men

This podcast episode of "Man Up / Man Down" features Chris Stein, the interim CEO of Father's Development Foundation and Director of Marketing, Fundraising, and Communications at Future Men. Chris has nearly two decades of experience working with at-risk youth, young offenders, expectant fathers, and in the field of men's mental health. The conversation delves into the changing landscape of men's health issues and masculinity.

Chris begins by sharing his career journey, starting with his desire to work with young people. He highlights the under-appreciation and low funding in youth services, emphasising their vital role as a bridge between family and school. Chris's early work involved integrating community services into schools, focusing on drugs, alcohol, sexual health, and mental health. He notes the significant overrepresentation of boys and young men in school exclusions and the criminal justice system.

The discussion then moves to Chris's work in youth offending services, where he dealt with young people exhibiting multiple and complex needs, often leading to aggression and violence. He emphasises the importance of understanding the underlying fear and unmet needs driving these behaviours. Chris also talks about the importance of vulnerability in young men, challenging the limited emotional expressions traditionally allowed for them.

Chris further discusses his work at Future Men, a London-based charity supporting boys, young men, and men during transitional life moments. He outlines various programs they offer, including the Boys Development Program for skills like communication and conflict management, and programs for fathers that focus on practical parenting skills, mental health, and the societal role of fathers.

A significant part of the conversation focuses on masculinity. Chris shares insights from focus groups with boys and fathers, revealing traditional norms among younger groups and a shift in priorities among fathers. He notes the impact of cultural, religious, and socioeconomic factors on perceptions of masculinity.

The podcast touches on the importance of statutory paternity leave and mental health screenings for fathers, highlighting the structural challenges men face in fulfilling their roles as parents. Chris argues for a more inclusive and supportive approach towards fatherhood, emphasising the importance of corporate social responsibility in supporting charitable organisations like Future Men.

Chris concludes by outlining Future Men's philosophy, which centres around seven positive characteristics of masculinity: empathy, curiosity, nonviolence, inclusiveness, resourcefulness, resilience, and reflectiveness. He stresses that these traits are essential for all individuals, not just men. The episode ends with Chris inviting listeners to engage with Future Men's work and attend their events for further discussion and involvement in these critical issues.

You can find out more here: www.futuremen.org


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