Connect Me – Kerouac Adventures, building a community.

Society’s expectations and traditional gender roles play a role in why men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health problems. We know that gender stereotypes about women – the idea they should behave or look a certain way, for example – can be damaging to them. But it’s important to understand that stereotypes and expectations can also damage men.

Men are often expected to be the breadwinners and to be strong, dominant and in control. While these aren’t inherently bad things, they can make it harder for men to reach out for help and open up. The pandemic exacerbated these issues for many people, and were even more heightened by those whose support networks were limited to a few or no people during lockdowns.

Jersey can be a very isolating place and Mark, one of the team at Kerouac Adventures, knows only too well how this can then have a knock on effect on mental health, particularly that of men.

It’s for this very reason Kerouac Adventures was set up, to provide positive adult mental health and wellbeing through the building of a community which allows men to connect and chat, often over practical activities in nature. These can vary from things like coasteering to learning how to make the very best cup of coffee, or simply sharing a cup of coffee and talking. All of those at the forefront of setting up the group can relate to the experiences being widely talked about and it’s their empathy that drives them.

Kerouac Adventures also offer ‘Journey into the Wild’ retreats, of which they’ve held five so far and the next one will be from Thursday 1st Feb  – Sunday 4th Feb 2024 at the amazing Jersey Heritage site, Kemp Tower. The retreats are an opportunity to get back to nature, learn some new skills and spend time with likeminded people.  Whilst there is a cost associated with the retreats these are means tested and wouldn’t be a barrier to anyone wanting to join in.

If you, or you know someone who you think would benefit from speaking to one of the Kerouac team the first port of call would be to drop them an email or you can find them on Instagram too, they’re happy for you to message them on there too, if that’s easier. Like everything these guys do you’ll be reaching out into a judgement free zone, one where you’re safe to share your thoughts and will hopefully leave having built new friendships too.

To build on the great work which is being delivered through the Connect Me: Connecting our Communities Grant Scheme, a network of Community Connectors has been developed as part of the  Community Compass initiative. These Connectors, work outside of Government and are better placed to listen and talk to individuals and groups alike, making connections and provide support across the community, building on existing resources and networks. Kerouac Adventures, one of the Community Connectors, were one of the first to present their project and receive support

It’s hoped that over time the Connectors will, through the people and situations they encounter in their current work, be able to identify new initiatives or opportunities that would benefit from support and which will ultimately benefit the island community.

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