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, through its investment in mental health programs and encouraging men to talk openly about their problems.
Hommes Atout, a project developed and run by Professor Dominic Bizot of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi and funded by Movember, is just one of those programs working to encourage 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.
Studies also show men in their senior years and men living in rural/remote areas are more likely to be in poor health, find it hard to ask for help and use health services less often. Many health and social services often do not have the resources to adequately respond to the needs and realities of men, especially in these unique situations.
To address this, Hommes Atout creates an environment for men living in remote communities in Québec to have these important conversations, gain knowledge about their health, and create opportunities to connect with other men in their community.
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.
The Hommes Atout program and Professor Bizot are funded by the Movember’s Men's Health and Well-Being Innovation Challenge.
The goal was to find out what worked to engage men in their health and change behaviour by delivering programs that met their needs - where they resided.
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.