The 12th Man concept seeks to turn around a long-held social stereotype that it’s a weakness for men to talk about mental health.
Work previously undertaken by The Outsiders has led us to believe that most men would want to possess the knowledge and confidence to help their partner, children, friends or colleagues if they were to experience mental health problems. It’s definitely a sign of strength to be the person others can go to when they need support.
Sport is a medium through which positive images can reach out to men. The 12th Man is a popular metaphor in sport for support and help when it’s most needed. In football, the crowd is often referred to as ‘the 12th man’ and lifts the players when they need it.
The 12th Man concept will encourage men to be a ‘12th Man’ in their families, friendship groups, communities, workplaces and other networks where they can offer support to those requiring it.
Men from all backgrounds will be offered training, support and encouragement so that they have the confidence, language and aptitude to be open and compassionate about mental health, particularly in being there for others when they need someone to listen.
The Outsiders also will develop a range of promotional materials to promote the concept, and the strength inherent in being a 12th Man. We think that posters, beermats and flyers would make a good start but we’re welcome to suggestions.