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Nelson program helps men in transition

A new program is being offered in Nelson for men who
A new program is being offered in Nelson for men who've been through traumatic experiences.
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A unique group aiming to help men reclaim their lives after suffering through an impactful event is coming to Nelson.

Transitions for Men is a pilot program offering support to members of the sometimes forgotten gender who’ve been impacted by a trauma that’s limited their ability to live and work in their community.

“It’s time for men to support each other,” said coordinator Roger Luscombe. “There aren’t particular programs focused around supporting men so when a man has trouble he scrambles, ‘where do I go.’ … There aren’t as many places for men to land.”

Historically, women have faced more oppression and have worked hard and supported each other as they moved toward equalization, said Luscombe who works at the Nelson Community Services Centre.

“They really organized over the years and have had a good sisterhood… It was mainly their grassroots effort to make it work for themselves.

“Men haven’t really organized themselves that way and don’t necessarily socially connect that way either. We tend to be more stoic and ‘we can deal with it and put up with it.’”

When one suffers a traumatic event it can have varying degrees of impact. Sometimes a person retreats inward. Sometimes they turn to drugs and alcohol.

“It translates differently for every person. Everyone who experiences trauma has trouble with their lives and employment but for some people it impacts them more so,” Luscombe said.

For men, their self-identity is often tied up with their employment and many see their contribution to society as being the provider.

While the group will set its own goals and workshop topics based on the needs of participants, some potential subjects are: role of culture, substance abuse impacts, understanding boundaries and exploring physical, spiritual, relational and financial impacts.

“We hope to have a whole toolbox of things that could potentially be issues for men and then draw upon those for the group that’s there,” Luscombe said.

“It’s not just a group where they’re going to come and get something. It’s a group where they’ll be offering their life experiences and contributing too.

They will explore employment readiness including strength assessments, interview and resume effectiveness and the hidden job market, for example.

“It’s a group support model. Not so much we’re going to give you a bunch of techniques and educate you and you’ll be better,” he said. “This really is men supporting men. That’s a real awesome thing.”

Should this pilot program prove successful, there are plans to offer it throughout the West Kootenay.

The program is free and runs for six weeks with four-hours sessions for four days per week, 9 to 1 p.m. starting October 15. It ends November 21. Luscombe is pleased to report that the program’s first session is full with a wait list started for future considerations.

The Transitions for Men program is a project of Nelson Community Services Centre and Kootenay Career Development Society with funding from federal and provincial governments.

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