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Rescued! Men and Mental Health conference change lives - Men and Mental Health conference changes lives

Published:Saturday | April 27, 2019 | 12:09 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer
With directions from a psychologist, women were introduced to ways in which they can use massage therapy to help their partners relieve stress and tension.
With directions from a psychologist, women were introduced to ways in which they can use massage therapy to help their partners relieve stress and tension.

The Men and Mental Health-conference, which was held last week Saturday by the non-profit Will to Live Jamaica Foundation, catered equally to both sexes despite its initial target audience and aimed to unearth the causes of depression, suicide and ­uncontrolled pain and anger among men.

The one-day event was held at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, St Andrew, and featured talks from various psychologists and counsellors.

Founder of the faith-based foundation and conceptualiser of the conference, Shaniese Laylor-Bogle, shared that the day was well spent and its purpose served.

EXCEPTIONAL DAY

She said, “On the day of the event, we didn’t have more males than females like we desired, but it was an exceptional day! The speakers were dynamic, informative, humorous and inspiring.

“The attendees were given tools and strategies to develop good mental health, and men (even Christian men) revealed that for years, they were afraid to express what they felt regarding suicidal thoughts and depression, hence they were happy they attended the seminar.”

Laylor-Bogle told Family & Religion that attendees were allowed to share factors that influenced depressing and suicidal thoughts and that many were able to benefit from answers to their questions, various coping strategies, and contact information for people who can help.

Those who were in attendance were also treated to additional services, including blood pressure checks, life insurance advice and live demonstrations of massage techniques for women to help relieve their partners of stress.

And the conference, including the various services provided, along with several gift certificates, came as a free package.

The philanthropist, who has been a Christian for over a decade, expressed that it was the leading of God that influenced her to host the seminar charge-free despite her earlier reluctance after considering the production cost.

“But one night, I heard forcefully in my spirit, ‘Let the seminar’s entry be free! Yes, it takes cash to operate, but let this one be free. Don’t let that entry fee stop that person from coming. Free, free, free!”

Laylor-Bogle said, “I was shocked, but I knew it was the Lord. The very next day, I was offered assistance with the expenses. Persons would just contact me to say they were in prayer and the Lord directed them to help out. I knew it wasn’t a lie as they were contacting me about things I was talking to the Lord about to send help to cover. There were days I felt so bombarded, as there were a few deadlines that were pressing, but at the ‘ninth hour’, God sent help, and things were covered.”

MESSAGE FROM GOD

She added, “One day, a co-worker told me that she was in prayer, and the Lord directed her to let me know to ‘let it go as things will work out for you.’ At that time, I was begging God in my prayers to send a word with someone to remind me that provisions will be made for the coverage of the event. About two days before the event, the Lord whispered to me, ‘Paid in full’.” She added that later that morning, she was given the money to cover the outstanding bills.

Laylor-Bogle shared that a few men at the seminar expressed that if there had been an entry fee, they would not have been able to attend as they were at their lowest financially.

She shared, “What stood out mostly to me was that one family expressed that the gift certificate they won at the seminar was something they were praying for as a family, but due to limited funds, it couldn’t be done so they knew it had to be God.

“I was moved. I felt like a proud mother. My team and I are extremely happy with how the day went. Yes, we would have loved to have more men, but we believe God’s will was done. Even if just one male was inspired to continue living and taking care of their mental health, then our job was done. We thank our sponsors and everyone else who contributed to the success of the day, and we are sticking to the task of helping Jamaicans have good mental health, hence becoming better citizens.”