BU encourages ‘Talk About It’ approach to men’s mental wellness for Movember

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From the top of your lip to the bottom of your boxer-shorts drawer, Brandon University is kicking off its annual Movember campaign with a focus on men and men’s mental health.

“Movember can be a lot of fun for some people and it can make space for discussions that should be happening all year round,” said Dr. Rachel Herron, founding director of the BU Centre for Critical Studies of Rural Mental Health and a Canada Research Chair in Rural and Remote Mental Health. “This year, we are focusing on men’s mental health, which can be impacted by many things, especially in light of the additional stress of the ongoing pandemic.”

She says that recent research through the Centre shows a growing desire on the part of men to talk about their mental health.

“This is not the strong, silent, tough-it-out masculinity of stereotype,” she said. “More and more men are embracing the strengths of speaking, and of talking it out. These are encouraging results from research that we are doing right here in Westman.”

Brandon University’s Movember campaign will help distribute some of the findings of the Centre’s research, including that men are looking for trusted, healthy friendships with other men, and a supportive environment in which they can talk about their concerns.

Another BU researcher will take a look at a lighter topic. Dr. Jonathan Allan is a Canada Research Chair in men and masculinities. His most recent research project is taking a look at how environmental concerns have been used as a marketing tool to sell men’s underwear.

“It’s not just fashion, but it is fascinating,” he said. “From the fabrics and dyes that are promoted, to the printed patterns on the boxers and briefs, to the lush and verdant environments that are used in commercials, marketers are really leaning on environmentalism and sustainability concerns in their underwear advertising.”

He will present some of his latest findings in a Zoom presentation on Nov. 20 called “Green Your Groin.”

Research related to men’s health will also be highlighted through the weekly Research Connection format — a two-page downloadable summary of ongoing research and research results that is specifically written to be engaging and accessible to non-experts. Research Connection is a project of the BU Centre for Aboriginal and Rural Education Studies, or BU CARES.

Some research will also be reviewed in the regular Research Connection podcast, including the most-recent one, which discusses Indigenous men’s mental health with the Brandon Friendship Centre’s Frank Tacan, and with Jason Gobeil of the Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services.

Findings from BU’s research into supporting men’s mental health will also be included in every meal that’s ordered through Everyone Eats Brandon the week of November 18–20. Everyone Eats is a partnership with the John Howard Society, providing hot, chef-inspired meals at a pay-what-you-can price. Available three days a week, Everyone Eats supports food security and reduces stigma. Orders can be made at EveryoneEatsBrandon.ca.

Food Services at BU will also be making special Movember cronuts, available only on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Cronuts are a delicious combination of doughnut and croissant. The pastry chefs at BU’s Harvest Hall are creating special Movember cronuts adorned with a moustache, so you can savour the occasion. Stop by Harvest Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 18 for Moustache Cronut Day.

The university is also providing a custom BU Movember background for video conferencing, including Zoom.

For more information on BU’s Movember campaign, as well as links to support resources that are available, see BrandonU.ca/Movember.


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