Panthers on the Prowl, the Penrith Panthers community development foundation, is working hard to raise awareness and open the conversation around male mental health through a life-changing and world-first group mentoring program.
Starting on Friday 1 June, 40 Year 10 students from Cambridge Park High School, Kiama High School, Kingswood High School and Springwood High School will complete a gruelling 24-hour challenge; a continuous walk around BlueBet Stadium in the lead-up, during and after the Panthers’ blockbuster match against the Sydney Roosters on Friday night.
Panthers of the Prowl, Building Young Men Co-ordinator, Brogan Mulhall said, “The 24-hour challenge is designed as a modern-day rite of passage for our boys. For many ancient indigenous communities, the transition from boy to man is considered vital and essential. However, in western society, rites of passage are often non-existent and replaced by risk-taking behaviours, including gang violence, anti-social behaviours, and alcohol and drug use.”
Now in its sixth year, the 24-hour challenge is part of the Building Young Men Program (BYM), that runs over 20 weeks and involves group mentoring sessions with local male mentors and role models, including local businessmen, Panthers players, directors and staff.
“The overall aim of the program is to educate the young men to embrace and understand a ‘real’ version of themselves that focuses on respect, compassion and courage. Through the group mentored experiences like the 24 Hr Challenge, the boys build resilience, emotional strength, while learning how to create quality relationships and develop a strong connection to community; all vital protective factors against poor mental health,” said Mulhall.
“Group mentoring creates a safe and powerful space where young men can openly talk about the challenges they face in the transition to manhood. The BYM program aims to provide strong male role models for those most in need.”
“In terms of our BYM project, we are only just scratching the surface of its potential for change in male mental health, and with additional funding we plan to take this program to even more schools in the local community and beyond.”
For more information about the program visit: panthersontheprowl.com.au/programs/building-young-men