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So far Andrew Howlett has created 9 entries.


@nfl has thrown a #hailmary and is calling on someone who will put an end to domestic violence to catch it. So how do we go about “tackling domestic violence”? NFL Commentator James Brown


In an American study of a large national representative sample, nearly 1 in 5 men reported intimate partner violence directed toward their current partner. Compared to men who do not perpetrate IPV, those who do are much more likely to have the following risk factors: witnessed or experienced family violence as a child, suffer from insomnia or irritable bowel symptoms, and had substance abuse or dependence. Other demographic, health and mental health factors studied showed no overall difference between the two groups.

Googling while expecting

Shoulder to Shoulder Project


Movember Canada is accepting video applications for their Men’s Health Innovation Challenge. So the Fathers’ Mental Health Network got together and created the Shoulder to Shoulder Project. This proposal uses a general way men communicate with each other (shoulder to shoulder, meaning while engaged in activity) to facilitate greater conversations about mental health. We continue to focus on fathers as a window into men’s health, because that is the group we are most familiar with at the present time.

We will know November 1st, whether or not we are successful in winning the grant. Wish us luck and hopefully we will see you wearing a Shoulder Patch in support of Fathers’ Mental Health in the near future. Remember, healthy fathers lead to healthy families.

Men Heart Sports

heartMargaret Wente’s G&M article “Watching men watching sports” suggests that men experience sports far more fanatically than women and that sports is an arena for men to bond and engage with other men. True, some men love their sports and the loyalty, joy and agony some men experience through their team, and its wins and losses, is unparalleled with any other relationship. However, women can also be fanatic. While 3 men died of heart attacks during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in 2006 during theWorld Cup in Germany, the New England Medical Journal examined heart attack trends among Germans during the tournament, compared to other times of the year. On the days Germany played, heart attacks tripled for men and nearly doubled for women. For a fan to put their own “life on the line” for a game is excessive, but playing and watching sports is indeed an avenue for men in particular to make contact both physically and emotionally with other men. And it is not just about expressing and releasing aggression, exhibiting strength and taking risks; there is also a softness to sports that we also admire. Those who are technically skilled, sportsmanlike and conquer a personal story seem to capture our hearts and stand out as even greater role models than others. Cooperating and competing with others allows one to bear witness to the successes and failures of other men and to ultimately share common experiences. These interactions and the universality of sport strengthens bonds between men and increases the chances of other kinds of social exchange.

When conversations about our health and mental health matter most, we believe that friendships created through sport makes these conversations possible. Shoulders are not just for checking; they were also designed for one to lean on.

More Than A Haircut

The Globe and Mail‘s story of Ontario Judge Donald McLeod is not just about a boy who grew up “in the projects” but also about a boy who grew up without a father. Luckily Donald had a strong and supportive mother; he also discovered a male role model and mentor in Mr. Lowenstein, a Bay Street Lawyer, which may have helped to change his course. Donald, who is now a father to a 10-year-old son, still seems baffled about their relationship and the presence they share in each others lives. Donald would not be the only Afro-Canadian to grow up without a present and involved father.

Justice McLeod notes that “Absent fathers are still a difficult issue in our community. It impacts a lot on young black men. In the criminal justice system, there are a lot of individuals who do not have their fathers present. It’s something that has to be addressed.”

In his swearing-in speech, Justice McLeod said he stood on the shoulders of other black judges, such as Justice Michael Tulloch, first black member of the Ontario Court of Appeal (an appointee of the Harper government). “And so now I add my shoulders to the conversation, and upon these shoulders the next and then the next.”

Afro-Carribean fathers are coming together, shoulder-to-shoulder, having conversations and supporting one another’s role as fathers. In Toronto, the Macaulay Child Development Centre partners with Barbers and Black community leaders to offer More than a Haircut: The Barbershop Project. The purpose of these discussions is to increase positive father involvement in children’s development.

All fathers are in need of more than just a haircut and we hope to support their mental health needs every step of the way.

Men underutilize mental health services

Sociologist and researcher Dr. Flora Matheson, PhD of St. Michael’s Hospital discovered that Ontario women are far more likely to use mental health services compared to men. The same study showed that when men and women suffer from a physical illness (such as diabetes) plus a mental illness that they are more likely to use mental health services compared to those who do not suffer from a physical illness. However, even women without a physical illness are more likely to use mental health services compared to men with both a physical and a mental illness. Further study is indeed required to better understand the causes of these gender-based health disparities.

New website for gay dads

1498853Toronto is not just a hot spot for financiers, sommeliers, and entrepreneurs; Toronto is also home of some of the latest innovators creating resources for fathers. Earlier this month parents Brian Rosenberg and Ferd van Gameren launched their website gayswithkids.com, creating a community for fellow gay dads. This multimedia website reaches out to international dads and has found itself in the news including the Toronto Star and National Post. Our Network would like to congratulate Brian, Ferd, Jonah and their online team for the launch of their website and wish everyone a Happy World Pride Week!

Blast-off with The Motts on NEWSTALK 1010


If men can wear socks with sandals surely they can talk about their emotions!

Today we launched our website live on radio with Carol and Paul Mott, on NEWSTALK 1010. My high school Principal said I had a radio voice and I do love listening to the radio so what an exciting moment on my first Father’s Day.

Our website will continue to evolve and be updated thanks to your feedback. In the meantime keep up the conversation, talk about your feelings, and if you’re feeling mentally unwell let your family and your doctor know. Help is available to you.

The Great Imitator

“Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery.” (Proverb)

Let’s be honest, we all hope that our children inherit the parts we love about ourselves and fulfills at least some of our aspirations. In fact, one way to ensure or immortality is to live on through the lives of others, and who better to see ourselves reflected back than through our children?

As a new parent we anxiously await for the moments when we can teach our children what we know and nothing is more satisfying than to see our child imitate our actions, especially when they’ve learned it and can do it more than once.

It starts with imitation, as they imitate our smile, our hand-eye coordination and our words.
How often do you hear parents say to their children: “Can you say _____?”, “Now do this”, “Now try again”, “Here, do it like mommy,” “No, not like that.” Introducing children to new sensations, new experiences, and behaviours is critical to their growth and development and imitation is the foundation of learning. Even through a process of imitation, we eventually modify what we learn and go on to develop new ways of thinking and doing.

As you continue to encourage your child to imitate you and your lessons I also invite you to take opportunities to imitate your child. Imitating your child can begin on day one. In fact, you are probably already doing it and not even aware of it. One common way to imitate your child is to mirror back the facial movements they are making towards you. They smile, you smile; they frown, you frown; they throw the ball, you throw the ball. This process does wonderful things for the neural connections within the brain as well as gives the growing mind even the tiniest experience that their behaviour can influence “the world” (others), especially if this response happens consistently.

Our children have so much to teach us and imitation remains a foundation for learning about them as it does a foundation for them to learn about us.