Understanding Masculinity – Emotional Wellbeing and Men

Our Understanding Masculinity project supports men to become positive role models within their communities.


On 12 January 2022 a 23-year-old primary school teacher, Ashling Murphy, was attacked and killed while jogging along the Grand Canal outside Tullamore, County Offaly. Her killing reinvigorated conversations surrounding violence against women in Ireland. As a result, ICNI were approached by a GAA club to work with their male coaches to address this issue and to ensure the club is inclusive of all members.

In developing a programme outline we were conscious that men are rarely provided with opportunities to discuss their wellbeing. Therefore, we created a programme which enabled a safer space to discuss masculinity and issues that impact on men’s mental wellbeing. This includes topics such as social isolation and loneliness. The project built their confidence to access medial and emotional support at an early stage, while also working towards reducing all forms of violence.

With the increase in violence against women and the continued high rate of male suicide ICNI successfully applied to the PHA Making Life Better Through Short Term Funding Programme in 2022. This grant enabled us to provide our Understanding Masculinity: Emotional Wellbeing and Men programme to groups within the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

Programme Aims

This programme encourages participants to examine their understanding of masculinity, the role it plays in their daily life, and their ability to become role models. The primary aims of the programme are:

  1. To create a safer space for men to discuss issues relevant to them, such as masculinity, stereotypical views of men, male values, and attitudes around emotional wellbeing;
  2. To create a safer space for men to examine violence in all forms, how values and attitudes contribute to violence, and the bystander role;
  3. Examine male role models; and
  4. To create a safer space for men to talk about actively seeking help and support around their health and wellbeing.

We delivered the programme to 41 participants aging from teenagers to men in their 70s. You can read our project evaluation here.


“I learned that it’s okay to talk, and that I want my son to see that it’s okay to talk too. I want him to come and talk to me at any time.”

Aodhan, NOW Group participant

“The course was exceptional. From the outset the trainer was extremely
engaging and interactive. This approach brought the boys out of their
shells and allowed them to feel relaxed, at ease and able to share openly when required. The content was relevant to issues boys face in society and I would highly recommend this to other groups.”

Nathan McConnell, Teacher, Ashfield Boys High School

“Great material, I’d recommend it to any group of men.”

John Kyle, Former Belfast City Councillor and GP

Get in touch

For more information about our Masculinity programme contact:

Mark Breslin
Tel: 07835 081023