The month of International Men’s Day and Movember may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean talking about men’s mental health has to be. Here are just a few ways behavioural science has been used to support men through various campaigns, all year round.
The Ask Twice campaign was created by Time to Change in 2018. Working with Ogilvy, they found the average Briton falsely states, ‘I’m fine’ up to 14 times a week, indicating a need for encouraging people to talk about how they’re really feeling. So, they created the Ask Twice nudge to overcome the ‘I’m fine’ default.
If anyone suspects a friend, family member or colleague might be struggling with their mental health, Ask Twice encourages people – and men in particular – to not just ask once how they are, but to ask again, with interest, showing a genuine willingness to talk and listen. Hear, Hear.
The Changing Room
Led by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), The Changing Room is a Movember-funded programme using football and the power of social norms to bring men aged 34-60 together to tackle mental health issues. The programme started at Heart of Midlothian Football Club and Hibernian Football Club in 2018, encouraging men to not only talk all things football, but normalising chatting about mental health, too. It now takes place at football clubs across Scotland and recently received funding to deliver Changing Room Extra Time, allowing participants space to talk in-depth and explore areas they’re finding particularly challenging - proving the beautiful game can be used to create happier, healthier minds.
Brothers Through Boxing
Brothers Through Boxing is another Movember-funded programme, using the power of incentives and social influence to tap into our human need to ‘belong’ and connect socially isolated men through boxing and group discussions. Aimed at men between 16-25 who aren’t currently in employment, education or training, the programme is split into boxing sessions which help to build physical and mental fitness, and group discussions, encouraging men to open up and challenge the masculine stereotypes that have an impact on mental health.
The aim is for the groups to bond and build new, lasting friendships, and to support each other through difficulties. Who better to support young men to roll with the punches than their peers?
These are just a few of the campaigns out there supporting men’s mental health, they show how taking a common interest, and encouraging open discussions, can create comfortable, safe spaces for boys and men to open up. Let’s not wait until next November to shine a spotlight on these challenges, or the clever campaigns that can help create the solutions.