Evaluating a $10m+ global mental health fund with Movember

Close up shot of a mid-adult man listening to someone speaking whilst sitting

CEI is excited to partner with global men's health charity Movember on a two-year evaluation of a new AUD $10.38 million grant fund for the ‘Scaling What Works’ (SWW) program. Over two years, the fund will support projects globally aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of boys and men. This evaluation will assess a range of factors including scalability, sustainability, implementation, and outcomes across numerous innovative programs working with men and boys. CEI will be working closely with the projects to develop a community of practice for knowledge sharing and capacity building within the project teams, including building the capability of project teams to support high quality evaluation activity.

This research is important because there is a growing men’s mental health crisis that urgently needs to be addressed. This “silent epidemic” for men and boys means that men’s mental health and suicide have traditionally received less attention in public health. Men and boys globally have 2-4x the rates of death by suicide than women and girls[1]. Furthermore, men from socioeconomically marginalised or historically disadvantaged groups experience greater mental health challenges.

Gender norms, beliefs, attitudes, and stereotypes around masculinity have been identified as common and harmful to men’s health[2]. Emotions associated with vulnerability are stigmatised[3] and experienced as shameful, becoming barriers to help seeking[1]. Men are also more likely to turn to other ways of coping (such as alcohol or drug use) that are themselves associated with poorer health outcomes[4].

Research on men’s mental health has historically been lacking, however, recent studies have shown that risks to men’s mental health are addressable through interventions that target attitudes, capabilities and behaviours, as well as efforts to de-normalise unhealthy behaviours as masculine[5], and helping men and healthworkers better recognise and address mental health issues. For example, a 2019 systematic review of interventions that could improve help-seeking behaviour for mental health challenges found that key approaches included[6]:

  • leveraging role models
  • engaging men with psychoeducational material to improve mental health knowledge
  • assistance with recognising and managing symptoms
  • active problem-solving tasks
  • motivating behaviour change
  • signposting services
  • content that built on positive male traits such as responsibility and strength

This research identified only a limited number of relevant studies, highlighting the importance of expanding the evidence base on men’s mental health.

CEI is therefore delighted to be working with Movember to evaluate a diverse set of organisations over the next two years. We are particularly eager to assess how different kinds of interventions may be scaled up. 

Read more about the projects and Movember’s press release here.

  1. Rice, S., Oliffe, J., Seidler, Z., Borschmann, R., Pirkis, J., Reavley, N., & Patton, G. (2021). Gender norms and the mental health of boys and young men. The Lancet Public Health, 6(8), 541–542. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00138-9. The Lancet, 2019
  2. The Lancet. (2019). Raising the profile of men’s health. The Lancet, 394, 1779
  3. Ogrodniczuk, J., Oliffe, J., Kuhl, D., & Gross, P. A. (2016). Men’s mental health: Spaces and places that work for men. Can Fam Physician, 62, 463–464.
  4. Men’s Health Forum, Haynes, & The Movember Foundation. (2015). How To Make Mental Health Services Work for Men.
  5. Baker, P., White, A., & Morgan, R. (2020). Men’s health: COVID-19 pandemic highlights need for overdue policy action. The Lancet, 395, 1886–1888. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31303-9
  6. Sagar-Ouriaghli, I., Godfrey, E., Bridge, L., Meade, L., & Brown, J. S. L. (2019). Improving Mental Health Service Utilization Among Men: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of Behavior Change Techniques Within Interventions Targeting Help-Seeking. American Journal of Men’s Health, 13(3). https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988319857009