Researchers and staff members from the Men’s Health Research program (MHR) at the University of British Columbia were recognized in Movember’s latest funding announcement.

The Social Innovator’s Challenge selected 13 projects from Canada, Australia and the UK as part of a $5.6 million dollar investment aimed at improving men’s mental health.

These projects focus on the importance of social connection for men.

“We know that in their 30s, men tend to start letting go of key relationships,” says Craig Martin who is the Global Director of mental health and suicide prevention at The Movember Foundation.

“This is having a far-reaching and very negative impact because social relationships are a key protective factor for men against anxiety, depression and potentially suicide. We need to tackle this issue, and fresh ideas are needed because the status quo isn’t working for men.”

Apocalypse Made Easy!, a project headed by MHR staff member Andrew Munroe and researcher Dr. John Oliffe, was selected for its work in team-based, self-directed, and accessible survival training.

It is being developed for men working in IT, which a field prone to burnout and will be piloted in British Columbia, Canada. “The myth of the lone wolf, the sole survivor — that’s what we’re trying to dispel. Our project not only allows teams to work together to survive, it requires it. In getting teams to prepare for the worst, we’re hoping it will bring out their best. And that closer bonds will form because of it,” says Munroe.

MHR collaborating researcher also receives funding

MHR researcher Dr. Simon Rice was also awarded funding for his project, Entourage.

Entourage, which will be run by Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health in Australia, focuses on social anxiety. The project will include peer support and an e-health social media platform that will provide support and access to experts.

“We know that young males are almost three times as likely to die by suicide as young Australian females, and they are less likely to be accessing services, or receiving appropriate treatment for their mental ill-health,” said Senior Research Fellow and Entourage project lead Rice. “Which is why the Entourage project will play such a unique role in breaking down the barriers in accessing care, as it reaches into the lives of young men.”

Both projects will be supported by the Movember Foundation for two years. For more information on the Social Innovators Challenge visit Movember’s website.