On Sunday, November 27, Arsenal in the Community partnered with parenting platform MusicFootballFatherhood (MFF) to host an event called Extra Time at Emirates Stadium.
The event brought together dads to have discussions around fatherhood, support each other and to share experiences.
“We know that one in eight men are suffering from a common mental health problem such as depression or anxiety, ten per cent of new dads will experience so symptoms of post-natal depression and that suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45,” says MFF’s Elliott Rae.
“We also know that, because of ideas around what it means to be a man and masculinity, it can be difficult for some men to find support through friendships or professional services. So peer support and opportunities to meet like-minded people for honest conversations is really important.
“In addition to the mental health benefits, peer support sessions for men are also a good opportunity to learn from each other and think positive masculinity and how embracing emotion, sharing stories, seeking support and maintaining good male friendships can be transformative to our relationships, our parenting and our contributions to our communities and our workplaces.
“The Extra Time event was absolutely amazing,” Rae says. “The power of the conversations we had and the moments shared are hard to put into words. The support that the men showed each other and the care and empathy in the room was very special to see.
“One of the guys said that it was like therapy, sharing and connecting with like-minded dads who ‘get it’.”
After the group session in the Emirates Lounge, the dads headed down for a stadium tour. They visited the dressing room and the media room before having the opportunity to take lots of photos pitch-side.
“We want to say a massive thank you to all the dads that came to the event and made it so special,” says Rae. “This is just the start of our work in this space and we are hoping to do much more around men’s mental health, fatherhood and positive masculinity.”
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