Men aren't used to being vulnerable
Poor mental health is a huge challenge in Australia, and suicide is the leading cause of death for men aged 14-44. As outlined in the Soften the Fck Up case study, there are a range of contributing factors to male stoicism and reluctance to take action for their mental health.
We know a critical milestone for anyone improving their mental health is to talk about how they're feeling. However, this requires being comfortable with emotional vulnerability - something Australian men often have little practice in.
A wee shindig
On set dates at set times, people gather in a range of venues (mainly bars and cafes) across the world at F.U.N. events to have a drink and a chat. It's a pretty standard night out. Well... Almost.
There are two rules to a F.U.N:
1 · You must meet at least one new person
2 · You must share at least one "fuck up" you've made in life.
(Oh, F.U.N stands for Fuck Up Night.)
The events are lightly hosted by an emcee - guiding participants through the evening, offering fuck ups of their own, and connecting the dots between F.U.N with mental health. However, the event primarily involves participants connecting and sharing with each other.
The event offers a safe space for participants to "dabble" in being vulnerable and receiving positive feedback for doing so. Often at the start of the event, people share insipid, shallow stories. However, as the night progresses and they begin to feel more comfortable and secure in being vulnerable, deeper and more meaningful stories begin to emerge.
Don't talk about mental health
The effectiveness of F.U.N is due to two key design factors:
Even though the event is to help people on their mental health journey, marketing for the event (and indeed, most of the event itself) refrains from specifically mentioning mental health. This is intentional, as most people (especially men) won't want to engage in an event that is specifically created for the purposes of mental health.
The mental health space can be dry and, at times, "depressing".
A key factor of F.U.N's success is ensuring the user experience is fun, high energy, and highly enjoyable.
Number of times people share vulnerabilities
Thousands of people have attended F.U.N's across three continents, however, the key metric of F.U.N is the 12,00 times people have been vulnerable and shared personal stories.