Today is International Men’s Day 2023. This global event highlights the positive value of men and their role in society. The theme for 2023 is ‘Zero Male Suicide’, a call to action to stop male suicide.
To mark this important day, we spoke with our carer Faolan to get his views on a range of topics, from his work to the importance of International Men’s Health Day.
“After working in retail for seven years, I joined Private HomeCare in May. I really enjoy it. I got tired of retail as I wasn’t getting any fulfilment out of it. I have a friend in the UK who works as a carer and finds it very rewarding. So I thought I would give it a go. I am delighted I did as she is right, it is very rewarding work.
As well as the two mandatory QQI modules you must study to work as a carer in Ireland, I am studying for a Major Award. I am learning a lot and just have two modules left to go. My long-term career plan is to go into psychotherapy and work as a counsellor.
Home care is predominantly a female career. so I had some mild concerns when I first started. Male clients are usually more comfortable with me than with a female carer, for example when it comes to personal care. With all clients though, as soon as they get to know you a little bit, they are very happy and appreciative of our assistance.
“I think a day to recognise the positive contributions men make to society is very important. Some clients suffer from mental health, particularly those receiving palliative care. They don’t want to burden their families, so find it easier to be open with and to talk to carers. It’s hard but it helps to have carers coming in who they can talk to.
Initially I didn’t know how to handle conversations about death, but recently I did the QQI Palliative Care module. I found it insightful. Before, I wouldn’t have known what to say. After the module, I am a lot more comfortable taking about death. The more you talk about it, the easier it gets.
I think International Men’s Day is very important, especially this year’s theme around suicide prevention. The rates of suicide in Ireland are very high for men vs women.
The reason is there is a lot of stigma around men and their mental health.
You are supposed to suck things up and ‘be a man’. I think it’s a strength rather than a weakness to talk about mental health.
I would encourage everyone to try working in care. There is a lot of stigma around men going into a profession like this. However there is a lot to gain. It gives you a great insight into care. It is making me consider how I want to be cared for myself one day. You hear stories and meet lots of people. Ultimately you get a lot of respect for people.
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