The Handlebar, the Dali, the Freestyler, the Fu Manchu … UNSW would like to thank all the moustaches, scant or grand, for the $5.5 million in grants to support UNSW expertise and research in men’s mental health.

The Movember Foundation has awarded a $2.9 million grant to UNSW Professor Sam Harvey, who is based at the Black Dog Institute, for his Men@Work project. It’s a world-first mental health intervention fixed firmly in the digital age and aimed at men working in male-dominated areas of the workforce, such as mining, construction and emergency services.

“One of the biggest obstacles to tackling men’s mental health is the difficulty many have in asking for help or starting conversations about mental illness,” says Professor Harvey. “The Men@Work project will allow us to develop state-of-the-art mobile phone and internet technology, which should help us navigate around this issue.”

“We know that work and workplaces can be sources of strain but they also have great potential as sources of support. One of the most exciting things about this project is that it is a collaboration involving 14 different academic, industry and union partners from around the country. Having such a diverse range of researchers, health professionals, employers and employees all working together is very novel and should give us the best chance of success.”

Like Father Like Son, a project led by UNSW professor of psychology Mark Dadds, has been awarded $2.6 million. Subtitled “A National Approach to Violence, Antisocial Behaviour and Mental Health of Men And Boys", it encourages fathers to take a more active role in the management of aggressive behaviours in their sons.

“Disorders of violence, aggression and antisocial behaviour occur most commonly in males and often begin early in life. If left untreated, they signal a high-risk factor for mental disorders in adulthood,” says Professor Dadds.

“But if conduct problems are caught early, they can be treated relatively inexpensively using evidence-based parent-training programs. And outcomes are vastly improved when fathers participate."

Read more about Professor Dadds’ Like Father Like Son project here.

UNSW Professor Helen Christensen, also based at the Black Dog Institute, is providing mental health expertise and support for a sports-based mental health intervention, led by the University of Wollongong, that has been awarded $1.9 million by the Movember Foundation.

This comprehensive study will investigate the role of sport in helping adolescent boys identify and overcome mental health issues. Research has shown that adolescents who drop out of organised sport are 10 to 20% more likely than their peers who don’t drop out, to be diagnosed with a mental health problem in the following three years.

UNSW Professor Anthony Shakeshaft, who is based at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, will also benefit from a Movember Foundation grant. He is part of a multi-university collaboration aimed at improving the mental health of indigenous young men and boys. The project, which will involve a number of indigenous communities in rural and remote Queensland and NSW, will include strategies such as social marketing to reduce stigma around mental illness, training and outreach for local health care workers and skills-based education and training for young men and boys at high risk.

The Movember Foundation is a leading global organisation committed to changing the face of men’s health. It challenges men to grow moustaches during the month of November to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.

Media Contact: Lissa Christopher, 02 9385 8920