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Lockdown Leaders: Empowering Boys During COVID

Australian male emotional intelligence charity The Man Cave today launched revamped programs to give high school-age boys the space to process their emotions and experiences, as renewed COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria disrupt the return of millions of Victorian students for term three.

Following the Victorian Government’s announcements last week, and with school disruptions and closures set to continue, The Man Cave will support young men through Victoria’s second lockdown. The charity’s programs will empower young men to become cultural leaders, shift their attitudes towards safety measures and better equip them with the awareness, mindset, and behaviours necessary to safely follow new social distancing policies for schools.

The Man Cave CEO and 2020 Young Australian of the Year Finalist, Hunter Johnson, said the organisation will work in collaboration with teachers and parents to give young men the emotional skills to understand and process their experiences of COVID.

"2020 has been an unprecedented period of turbulence for young men, and this increases the mental load on themselves, their caregivers and teachers. Supporting their mental health and wellbeing is critical to improving their sense of self and their relationship skills, resulting in better communities for all,” said Johnson.

The Man Cave’s own research found that nearly 40 per cent of Man Cave students experienced negative feelings such as anxiety, boredom and frustration during COVID lockdowns in the first semester, with mental health being a key factor for this age group(1).

Further, the latest research from the US and the UK shows that young men are the least likely to comply with or understand social distancing and COVID safety guidelines(2) - putting communities at risk as much of Victoria goes into lockdown.

“By empowering young men and boys, we see them being able to lead us out of lockdown, become advocates of social distancing and flip the narrative of young men not being compliant on its head,” said Johnson.

“Our programs are delivered by highly trained, diverse and relatable facilitators, developed alongside leading psychologists and youth-engagement experts and are always aimed at early intervention,” he said.

Since 2014, The Man Cave’s workshops for high school boys have reached more than 15,000 young men across Australia – 95 per cent said they would recommend The Man Cave to other young people.

The Man Cave will continue to offer three digital programs for schools, which include emotional intelligence training for boys, teacher wellbeing support and teacher facilitation training.

To register interest for The Man Cave’s in-person and online workshops visit:


1. Man Cave Research, 2020

2.”Coronavirus: Young men 'more likely to ignore lockdown' ” Laura Foster, 9 May 2020,

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