Men at Risk: Family Impact Seminar at State House March 30

The 2011 Massachusetts Family Impact Seminar, “Men at Risk: The Physical, Mental, and Social Health of Men in Massachusetts,” will present a briefing to state lawmakers on the latest research on the hidden crisis of men’s relatively poor health, how that negatively impacts the Commonwealth and their families, and what can be done about it.

The seminar is sponsored by the Central Massachusetts Legislative Caucus, which is co-chaired by Senator Harriette Chandler and Representative Vincent Pedone. It will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, March 30, in Room 222 of the State House in Boston. A roundtable discussion will take place immediately after the seminar in Nurses Hall. 

The Commonwealth is known around the world for the quality of its institutions of higher learning, both public and private. In 2009, Clark University became the Massachusetts affiliate in the National Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Currently operating in 29 states, the Family Impact Seminars comprise a national program of annual seminars, briefing reports, and discussion sessions that provide current, non-partisan research on critical issues for state legislators and legislative staff.

The three key speakers to present in Boston are: James Mahalik, Ph.D., of Boston College; Michael Addis, Ph.D., of Clark University; and Emily Douglas, Ph.D., of Bridgewater State University. Topics they will discuss include:

• How and why men are dying earlier than women and suffer more severe and earlier disease states than women, how that impacts the economy and families, and what Massachusetts can do about it.

• How and why men suffer from higher rates of suicide, alcoholism, and substance abuse; how and why their mental health issues remain undiagnosed and untreated; how such undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues impact employment and other key indicators, and what Massachusetts can do about it.

• How divorce and child custody issues negatively impact men’s physical, mental, and social health; how men are sometimes the victims of domestic violence and yet are often shut out of available resources, and what Massachusetts can and is doing about these issues.

A briefing report that digests and provides references for current research on these issues will be provided to all attendees.

FIS held its first seminar, focused on “The Great Recession and Its Impact on Families,” on March 31, 2010. A briefing report was distributed to all attendees and all state legislators’ offices. The seminar, supported by Clark’s Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise, was praised for its innovativeness, objectivity, usefulness, and educational value.

For more information, contact Denise A. Hines, Ph.D., Clark University research assistant professor of psychology and director of the Family Impact Seminars, at dhines@clarku.edu or 508-793-7458.

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