Review of 6

A review of 6 published in Youth Studies Australia by Sue Headley. Originally published Youth Studies Australia, v.26, n.4, 2007, p.54.

6 " Six mates, six stories 2007, DVD and booklet, City of Melville, Locked Bag 1, Booragaoon WA 6954

 $39.00 (plus $3.00 postage)

The City of Melville is not your average Australian suburban council. In 1999, the citys Health Promotion Officer Janet Armarego produced a booklet titled Who said its easy being a guy? " a health and drug education resource for young men which was revised in 2002 and is still in use in schools and other organisations.

Earlier this year, the city obtained a grant to produce a DVD of short films aimed at young men. As Janet explains: As a result of continued positive feedback received about the booklet, we decided to extend the reach of the program to target young men who are less inclined to read.
The themes in 6 " six mates, six stories are based on those in the booklet, and, says Janet, the council sought input into the film scripts from male students at Melville Senior High School, and from other groups of young men.

In September this year, the films were piloted to a group of students from the same high school, where they stimulated extensive discussion and were considered to be a resounding success. The City of Melville website states, The DVD is targeted at male adolescents and aims to assist young men in coping with some of the emotional health issues they may face during adolescence such as self-esteem, relationships, sexuality, crime, suicide and drink driving.

The films are each seven to nine minutes long and designed so that teachers and health professionals can show them as a sequence, or separately to illustrate particular topics. The purpose of the films is to serve as a catalyst for further discussion and to encourage resiliency and the development of life skills.
Each story focuses on one of six school friends. The scenarios range from universal dilemmas, such as
dating etiquette, to less frequent experiences, such as incarceration.

The acting and film production are both of a very high standard. All the characters are sympathetic, the
situations realistic, and the stories are linked through the shared experience of secondary school.

Adult supervision of the viewing of the DVD would appear to be essential given that the themes in these realistic, documentary- style vignettes are all challenging, and one story depicts the death of a character. However, an overarching theme of the series is that young men are able to move forward with support and information from a variety of sources.

The booklet for teachers and health professionals that accompanies the DVD contains a synopsis of each story plus key messages, discussion questions, exercises and games. The students who piloted
the DVD recommended separate viewings, or at least discussion sessions, for males and females, to allow males to talk freely about their reactions and feelings. The DVD does not suggest a recommended
age range for viewing, but supervising adults should assess its applicability before showing it to young people.

The DVD aims to assist young men cope with some of the issues they may face during adolescence such as self-esteem, relationships, sexuality, crime, suicide and drink driving.

It is heartening to see the issue of alcohol consumption tackled in the series. It would be great if more resources of comparable quality were developed to tackle other aspects of binge drinking, such as short- and longterm brain damage.

It is also encouraging to see a range of young mens issues tackled in this and so many other resources; however, in a society that still privileges males in so many, often covert, ways, it would be encouraging to see as many resources targeted at problem areas for young women, such as physical activity levels and binge drinking.

The City of Melville is showing the way in both these areas. It is to be congratulated for not only for producing innovative and excellent resources for young men, a task that might be considered largely the responsibility of state and/or federal governments, but also for providing a service for girls that includes physical activity!

Availability

Janet Armarego is keen to update the booklet Who said its easy being a guy?; however, copies of the booklet are still available for $4.50 each plus postage. Although 6 was produced for use in schools and organisations working with young men, anybody can obtain the DVD by contacting Janet Armarego on (08) 93640280 or Sandra West 9364 0644 or email janet.armarego@melville.wa.gov.au. The price is $39.00 plus $3.00 postage.