Sidney Fimone, 18, who just graduated from Tereora College this month was one of the panellists at the Men’s Mental Health Couch Talk. - 22111416
Societal expectations are holding men back from being vulnerable, says 18-year-old Men’s Mental Health Couch Talk panellist Sidney Fimone.
“Couch Talk” – a meeting designed to normalise men’s mental health
conversations - was held on Friday evening at the Muri Beach Club Hotel.
event had six speakers, including recently
graduated Tereora College student, Fimone, and current student, Ngatupuna Kae (17).
Fimone said men’s mental health was not spoken about often.
isn't spoken that much about because of expectations of society and the
community on how men are supposed to be, ‘men shouldn't cry, men shouldn't
share emotion, boys are supposed to be strong’, it holds them back from making
themselves vulnerable,” Fimone told Cook Islands
News after the event.
keeps them from expressing themselves.”
Fimone said he thought a lot of young men struggled with their
mental health in the Cook Islands because it was small.
pressure is something very common, they (men) tend to do things to fit in, and
no one really talks about it.”
Fimone said he was inspired to a panellist after hearing the speakers at last year’s event.
“To have those older men share those experiences of how they overcame their trauma and became the person they were today was really inspiring, so it's inspired me to go out there and share a bit on my own mental health and thoughts on men's health,” he said.
Fimone said the younger generation were “sort of” talking more
about their mental health but said society still made it hard to do so.
event was run by Cook Islands National Youth Council.
Council spokesperson, Jean Nootai said it was encouraging to have young people
talk about their mental health.
was amazing having those young men on there being brave enough to talk about
some of the things that they can't talk about,” Nootai said.
stigma around mental health is still quite strong here in the Cook Islands, a
lot of that really does come from pride not just in our men but also in our
women to, so these conversations are really just the starting point to making
sure we are all ok, it's not great to hide, we don't have to hide, the
community really is as strong as we all are together.
support in the community is out there and we are not alone, a lot of that was the
theme for the conversations.”
Nootai said around 30 people attended the event.
The other panellists were, Reikorangi Ellison, founder of Movember Cook Islands and The Realist Project, Eddie Rakanui, Wellington based blogger and corporate leadership coach, clinical therapist Dr Evangelene Daniela Wong.