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Looking after the mental health of young men

The statistics on men’s mental health in Australia reveals some alarming facts: On average, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women, with suicide being the biggest killer of males aged between 15-44. A massive 75 per cent of all mental health disorders occur before the age of 24.

Attempting to tackle this sizeable problem is Melissa Abu-Gazaleh, the Managing Director of Top Blokes Foundation, an organisation set up in 2008 to raise awareness about male issues and develop strategies that can be applied to improve the development of young male health and well-being. “Everyone knows that today young men need extra support and confidence in order to keep themselves safe and keep their friends safe,” says Melissa.

Melissa, who was awarded the NSW Young Australian of the Year in 2016 due to her important work with Top Blokes Foundation, said the organisation was established with clear goals in mind to help young men. “We wanted to inspire young males to reach their full potential through peer-inspired environments, increasing their social inclusion and healthy peer relationships,” she says. “We wanted to ensure young Australian men have access to personal development and volunteer opportunities as well as increase the positive representation of young men within the community and media.”

IMB Community Foundation support for Top Blokes Foundation has helped turn it from an idea into a reality, says Melissa. “ICF funding has allowed us to support over 11,000 young men from across NSW,” she says. “It has also allowed us to develop our newest program, which is called Stepping Up and is an eight-week program aimed at boys aged 10 to 13 years who are still in primary school and needing support. We teach them about mental health, overcoming peer pressure and risk taking and give them the confidence to navigate any tricky social situations they might face.”

Melissa’s goal is to continue working on Top Bloke Foundation’s reach. “The future of Top Blokes is to really grow and support more young males across the Illawarra and New South Wales,” she says. “There’s a lot of young men out there who do need support and positive role-modelling and the aim is for these young guys to be able to grow into top blokes.”

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Helping build and strengthen our local communities since 1999

As a mutual bank, supporting our local communities is important to us. We believe in supporting projects that foster inclusion, encourage volunteering and create sustainable outcomes, enabling the communities around us to thrive.

Over the last 20 years, The IMB Bank Community Foundation has invested over $10 million to support over 700 community projects. We’re very proud of the projects we’ve supported and each year we marvel at the wonderful achievements of our funding recipients.

These diverse and meaningful grassroots programs are found wherever IMB Bank operates — Sydney, The Hunter, The Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Far South Coast NSW.

Previous funding recipients

Farmborough Heights Rural Fire Brigade

A thermal imaging camera will enable The Farmborough Heights Rural Fire Brigade’s volunteer members to fully interpret a fire scene providing accurate situational awareness both day and night. It will also assist in search and rescue operations at any time and in any light conditions.

Giralang/Kaleen Men's Shed

The Giralang/Kaleen Men's Shed offers all men access to a range of activities including a woodworking workshop, garden, physical activity such as walking, and social interaction. Members will be trained in first aid to support shed members if needed.

Girl Guides Association of NSW

Building on a century of adventure, fun and friendship, Girl Guides empowers girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members. The project will allow Girl Guides to offer abseiling, high ropes and rock-climbing experiences in the local region providing opportunities for the girls to grow, learn and have fun in the outdoors.

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Why choose us?

Established in 1880, we have been helping people achieve their financial goals for 140 years and are rated by Forbes as one of the World’s Best Banks. We offer a full range of competitive banking, including home and personal lending, savings and transaction accounts, term deposits, business banking, and can arrange financial planning, insurance and travel products.

We provide simple and secure digital banking solutions online and on mobile, and members enjoy access to free automated phone and internet banking, and a team of professionals at our locally based contact centre. With a growing branch network throughout the Illawarra, Sydney, NSW South Coast, Newcastle/Hunter, the ACT and Melbourne, we have a lending specialist in every branch and a team of mobile lending specialists who will come to you.

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