During the eleventh month of the year, the world comes together to raise awareness for men's health, particularly prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s mental health and suicide prevention as part of the annual Movember campaign.
While it comes as no surprise that men have unique health needs, they often go through personal struggles alone, impacted by stereotypes that force many men to feel uncomfortable opening up about problems or issues they may be experiencing.
The “man up” mentality has been plaguing society for too long, but Movember is working to change that, encouraging everyone to check in on the men in their lives — not just during November, but also year-round, by funding programs that will help support men’s physical and mental health.
Hommes Atout, an action-based research project developed and run by Professor Dominic Bizot of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, is just one Movember-funded program working to help shift this mentality, encouraging Québec men to stay socially connected and open up when they may be struggling.
Aimed at rural communities and inspired by the “mobile men’s shed” movement, Hommes Aout brings mobile health and mental health support to isolated communities across Québec.
Studies have shown that social connection is key to maintaining strong mental health.
While many men aren’t great at staying connected during the best of times, studies also show that seniors and men living in remote or rural areas are more likely to have poor physical health and less likely to reach out for help when going through a rough time.
Hommes Atout is getting to the crux of the matter by finding unique ways to bring healthcare and social services to where they're needed most.
Here's how it works: Hommes Atout rolls into a rural Québec region with two 16-foot trailer-style sheds.
One is equipped as a workshop — a place to teach skills and learn from others.
The second is outfitted in a homey fashion, a comfortable place to connect with services and other community members.
Meant to promote men's engagement in the community, Hommes Atout combines social interaction with healthcare.
The trailers create a friendly, open atmosphere for men to benefit from each other's wisdom, build and maintain social connections through the workshop and meeting space, while also integrating key education around physical and mental health resources.
To ensure comfort and facilitate openness, the trailers are operated by two men, representing both younger and older generations, who work with the participants one-on-one.
Felt a bit down during isolation? Want someone to speak with but can't find the right approach? Visit Hommes Atout and talk with men that are in the same boat or can help guide you.
In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, particularly in rural communities where cases are fewer, the research leads chose to press pause on Hommes Atout.
However, once it’s safe, the duo will once again hit the road, traveling to six rural spots across Québec including:
The Hommes Atout program and Professor Bizot are funded by the Movember’s Men's Health and Well-Being Innovation Challenge.
The Challenge aims to find and support programs that create innovative new healthcare approaches for men and highlight the positive side of masculinity.
Hommes Atout is just one of the programs supported through this challenge, giving marginalized men in rural Québec a chance to learn about their health and connect with one another in a safe and supportive environment.
It's also just one example of how funds raised by Movember are invested back into the Canadian and Québec communities.
In fact, 80% of funds raised nationally go back to programs active within Canada.
In Québec alone, while roughly $15 million has been raised by the province for Movember, the organization has invested over $20 million into programming and research in the province aimed at helping men to live longer, healthier lives.
Considering how challenging the pandemic has been, it’s clear that men all across the country are struggling.
But programs like Hommes Atout give Québec men an opportunity to reach out safely when they need support and will continue to be there to help long after the pandemic is over.
Spread the word to those who may need some help and, if you can, donate through the Movember website.