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UC commences two-year project with Movember to evaluate men’s mental health programs

Michael Black

29 November 2021: University of Canberra researchers will undertake a two-year project with men’s health charity Movember to evaluate mental health initiatives for veterans and first responders.

Movember’s Veteran and First Responder Mental Health Grant Program, in collaboration with The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, is worth $9 million in total and covers 15 projects across Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The University’s newly-established mental health research unit within the Health Research Institute (HRI) was successful in securing $972,000 across two years to conduct an evaluation of the initiatives.

It will look at the effectiveness, sustainability, and scalability of the 15 projects, with a central focus on positive outcomes for participants.

Professor Luis Salvador-Carulla from the HRI said his expert team would use innovative methods of analysis to look at the impact of the projects.

“Each of the projects has ambitious goals to improve the long-term mental health of every participant with real-world outcomes,” Professor Salvador-Carulla said.

Professor Salvador-Carulla is among several mental health researchers who have recently joined the University of Canberra to establish the new unit for mental health research, under the umbrella of the HRI.

Director of the HRI, Professor Rachel Davey, said being selected as Movember’s evaluation partner for this initiative was a big win for the University and would quickly establish the new team of researchers.

“This evaluation process will identify and demonstrate effective prevention and early intervention programs for participants and will guide best practice for years to come,” Professor Davey said.

Movember was founded in Melbourne in 2003, and has since expanded operations in over 20 countries. It focusses on fundraising and building awareness around prostate and testicular cancers, as well as mental health and suicide prevention.

The University’s evaluation of this round of veterans and first responder programs will run until December 2023.