Making Connections

Author: Movember
The Movember Foundation, in partnership with Prevention Institute, has funded 16 communities across the US to improve mental health and wellbeing for men and boys. The Making Connections initiative prioritizes those who have particularly high need for community-level attention to improve mental wellbeing, including active and retired armed service members and men and boys of color, and their families. 

The initiative was developed from a detailed landscape report commissioned by the Movember Foundation: Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Men and Boys in the U.S. released in 2014. The report found key challenges to achieving mental wellbeing for men and boys in the US include:
  • American society produces anxiety and is full of risks and stressors such as lack of economic opportunity, unstable economy, growing inequity, and exposure to violence
  • Disconnection and isolation—from community, peers, family, children and culture
  • Male socialization that discourages expression of needs or emotions
  • Trauma, and its associated symptoms of mental and psychological illness, is more prevalent in the U.S. than in most other countries around the world.
  • Active and retired armed service members, veterans, men and boys of color, and their families, are disproportionately impacted by trauma in the U.S.
The good news is that there is strong evidence that prevention and early intervention can help improve mental health. Changing limited definitions of masculinity and addressing stigmas can increase opportunities for men to seek care that can help prevent and address mental health problems.

Mental health is not only an individual issue, but also a societal issue that Making Connections looks to address with broader community-based approaches and through fostering resilience in individuals, families and communities.

Through Making Connections we are working with 16 communities to develop prevention-oriented, community-driven strategies that draw on local knowledge and customs to develop effective and culturally relevant approaches. Making Connections seeks to connect men and boys in the places where they spend the most time and through activities they enjoy doing. Our goal is to reconnect families, communities and cultural identities to expand and improve notions of masculinity.

Participating sites include Albuquerque, NM; Florence, SC; Canton, CT; New Orleans, LA; Honolulu, HI; Tacoma, WA; Boston, MA; Chicago and Kankakee, IL; Los Angeles, San Diego and Stockton, CA; Houston, TX; Denver, CO; Lincoln, NE; and Oklahoma City, Ok. 

The following sites are considering strategies to address suicide prevention within their local communities. Read more about how their initiatives will be tailored to reduce male suicide. Read more about the mental health and suicide prevention programs the Movember Foundation is funding globally. While these programs are a great accomplishment, there is much work to be done to create a world where men live happier, healthier, longer lives.