The Movember Foundation, created to support research into prostate and testicular cancers, has now become a major funder of men’s mental health programs in Canada, and universities are the chief beneficiaries. In late October – just prior to the start of the annual month-long, mustache-growing marathon – Movember announced funding of $12 million for seven projects, its first foray into men’s mental health initiatives.
Movember put out a call for applications last spring. A panel of experts reviewed the proposals and, with input from the Canadian Men’s Health Network, the foundation awarded funding to programs led by Queen’s University, McGill University, University of British Columbia, Ryerson University, Western University, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Kids Help Phone.
The projects are wide-ranging. The Queen’s project, in collaboration with researchers at University of Calgary and Dalhousie University, will look at the factors involved in excessive drinking among first-year male university students. The $1.7-million, three-year study is being led by professor Heather Stuart and postdoctoral fellow Shu-Ping Chen of the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research at Queen’s, and researcher Terry Krupa in the university’s school of rehabilitation therapy.
Among the other projects, the McGill team will use their funds to develop and test HealthyDads.ca, an online resource for expectant first-time fathers who are at risk for mental health problems. At Ryerson, researchers are devising a project aimed at reducing the stigma of mental illness among boys and men in Asian communities in Canada. The project at Western, in collaboration with the Lawson Health Research Institute, will focus on older men nearing retirement, while the UBC-led project is focussed on men’s suicide and depression, including First Nation’s men who are at high risk.