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New Movember Survey Results Show More Conversations Are Needed for Men Who Are Struggling During COVID-19

According to new research, 88% of U.S. men surveyed found it helpful when people ask if they’re having a difficult time. Yet nearly half (42%) say no one has asked how they’re coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. These figures, released today by global men’s health charity Movember, explore the impact of COVID-19 on social connections. They also reveal about 21% of men surveyed either felt slightly confident or not confident at all starting a conversation with a friend or loved one who may be struggling since the stay-at-home order and physical distancing restrictions had been imposed.

The survey of 1,427i Americans which included 804 men aged 18 or older was commissioned by Movember and carried out by the Social Research Centre. It formed part of a multi-country study which included survey respondents from AustraliaCanada, the UK and the U.S.

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A fifth of U.S. male survey respondents (21%) reported their mental health had worsened compared with before  COVID-19. Nearly a third of men (27%) admitted they felt lonely more often than before the outbreak, while more than half (55%) said they felt the same as they did before the pandemic began.

U.S. Executive Director of Movember, Mark Hedstrom, says the survey points to the work that needs to continue when it comes to men and mental health. “We’re seeing some positive improvements when it comes to men being able to open up, but we have a long way to go. We see the indication of why connection is needed, and that men need support when it comes to their overall mental well-being.”

Movember is committed to tackling the crisis in men’s mental health through its investment in prevention and early intervention programs.

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Brendan Maher, Movember Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, says this is why the non-profit has launched Movember Conversations, a new interactive online tool, that offers practical guidance on how to start a difficult conversation and support someone who is struggling.

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He says, “People know it’s important to have conversations to support others; however, confidence and knowledge around how to do this isn’t always there.  What’s making things even harder are the challenges due to COVID-19, and the consequences of physical distancing, job loss, financial stress and strain on relationships.”

Based on R U OK?’s ALEC conversation framework (Ask, Listen, Encourage action, Check-in) and guided by a team of mental health experts, Movember Conversations is a free interactive digital tool that presents several scenarios relevant to today’s world including job loss, social isolation and family pressures. It uses simulated conversations to explore and practice how anyone might navigate a conversation with someone they care about.

Brendan Maher added: “We hope this tool will encourage people to have conversations with those they care about who might be going through a tough time. Movember Conversations gives them the practical skills to do that.”

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