The Men's Support Network
The Men’s Support Network (MSN) at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia is a system of male patients and caregivers who bond to give active help and encouragement to each other as they navigate the experience of cancer.
Emotional expression has been shown to be critical to emotional well-being. Research has revealed, however, that:
· Men find difficulty (and apply greater control) in expressing emotions
· Men are much less likely to share their emotions
· Men more often under-report negative feelings
(Lee, C & Glynn Owens, R (2002) The Psychology of Men’s Health. Open University Press.)
MSN attempts to challenge these tendencies by providing a safe environment for men diagnosed with cancer or supporting loved ones with cancer to give expression to their emotions, address difficult questions, voice concerns, or raise issues of mutual interest in a community of peers. It creates opportunities to connect and bond with other men, create friendships, tackle challenging issues, raise awareness and share knowledge, and recreate in an atmosphere of shared purpose.
At meetings, men have the opportunity to introduce themselves and share any part of their “story” that they desire. What occurs is that commonality and transparency resonate in the sharing of experiences; judgment is suspended; empathy is extended; and bonds are formed and strengthened.
The Network expects to grow “beyond the walls,” by facilitating a second group at a guest accommodation site, and by creating a safe dialog forum electronically for the continuation of conversations beyond our limited times of meeting, and to encourage and facilitate discussion from men who are in off-campus locations.
The group expects to progressively expand its range of focuses on male-related issues as interest is indicated and input is received from participants. It is a decidedly organic forum.
This is currently occurring as a pilot project. Meetings occur every second and fourth Wednesday of the month in the hospital’s main chapel from 3 to 4 p.m.
Many of you have been wanting to connect, but could not because of not being here -- well, chuck that! Beginning next Wednesday, you can call in anytime between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. and be connected to the meeting through conference-call hookup! YESS!!!
So here’s how we do it:
1. Call the ERMC switchboard at 215-537-7400
2. Ask to be connected to extension 4520
3. Talk to us- you’re in!
This is the first step in expanding the network beyond the walls, and we are looking forward to connecting with everyone who can call in. So mark your calendars; set your alarms, all that good stuff. Call in next Wednesday! Hope to see you or hear from you then!