Coaching boys into a new definition of men: A way to prevent violence and promote mental health

coaching boys into men
coaching boys into men(Veronica Ogbe)
Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
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NORTH CENTRAL, W.Va (WDTV) - The pandemic above all has brought up the conversation of mental health. June is Men’s Health Month, which serves the purpose of sharing what men face in their daily lives that may lead to mental health issues in their lifetime, but now a program that has recently entered the state goes through athletics to coach boys into a new definition of men.

People say mental toughness is something you need to succeed in sports, but what’s not being talked about is the battle off the field.

Forty percent of men say they won’t talk to anyone about their mental health, and the idea of ‘speaking makes you weak’ can come from the moments of being a young athlete.

“Men were taught to be tough, men were taught to be silent, men were taught to figure it out on their own,” a violence prevention specialist, Paul Mulbah Jr. said.

Instilling the program gives coaches the challenge to form a new team under the name of ‘change makers’ as they learn a new style of leadership that will help bring about futures without violence and the ability to speak up.

Tested in over 15 schools, those that did receive the program were more likely to intervene when noticing any type of inappropriate behavior.

The Penguins, Steelers and Pirates, three professional teams in Pittsburgh, are a part of the program, as well as over 1000 other coaches.

Now the goal is to make it more common here, as Debra Bonasso brought the program to West Virginia.

“It’s okay to talk about your emotions, it’s okay to get help, it’s okay so say something is wrong with you,” Mulbah said. “Being able to teach that to the coaches as we train them and being able to deliver that to their players, so now they have to be more mindful of their language.”

So thinking beyond the practices and the games, coaches offer more to an athlete’s future than they may think.

So far, six coaches are a part of the program in West Virginia. For more information on the program and how you can get involved whether you’re a coach or not, you can visit the Coaching Boys into Men’s website.

Editor’s Note: Previously WDTV stated that the program was brought to the state by Marsha Kisner, that was incorrect. It was Debra Bonasso who started CBIM in West Virginia. We apologize for the misinformation.

Edit made at June 25 9:06 p.m.

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