24 May 2020

Movember releases new study on COVID-19

Over half of Australian men say no one has asked them how they are coping during COVID-19
Mental Health

Eight out of 10 Australian men find it helpful when people ask if they’re having a difficult time. Yet over half (52 per cent) say no one has asked how they’re coping during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research.  

The figures released recently, exploring the impact of COVID-19 on social connections, also reveal that almost a third (29 per cent) of Australian men surveyed had not checked in with friends or family to find out how they were doing during the crisis.

The survey [i] of 1,429 Australians, including 806 men aged 18 or older, was commissioned by Movember and carried out by the Social Research Centre, forming part of a global study.

It found that approximately a third (31 per cent and 28 per cent respectively) of men felt their relationships with friends and work colleagues had weakened since stay-at-home and physical distancing restrictions had been imposed. 
Older men are the group most likely to have experienced poorer social connection, with 61 per cent of men aged 45+ years reporting they feel less connected to their friends since the COVID-19 outbreak, compared with 53 per cent of men aged 18 to 24 years.
One in five men (22 per cent) reported their mental health had worsened compared with before the outbreak of COVID-19 and almost a third (29 per cent) admitted they felt lonely more often. 

“While we know these conversations can often feel uncomfortable or awkward, checking in on your mates and loved ones can make the world of difference.”

“These findings indicate that guys are hungry for connection and in need of support in these trying times," said Dr Zac Seidler, Director of Mental Health Training at Movember.

“As the country slowly gets back to business, the residual stress of this pandemic may bubble to the surface and some will be doing it tougher than others. 

“While we know these conversations can often feel uncomfortable or awkward, checking in on your mates and loved ones can make the world of difference. 

“Don’t assume they don’t want to be bothered or don’t want to talk. Just making the call can go a long way.”

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

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

Movember Conversations gives you the confidence to have conversations with the men in your life who might be struggling.

It’s almost midday. Time to get out of bed and get on the beers!
Hey man. That doesn’t sound like you! Is everything ok?
Just hardly any reason to get out of bed these days.
What would you say next?

“People know it’s important to have conversations to support others; however, confidence and knowledge around how to do this with men is low,” said Brendan.

"What’s making things even harder are the challenges thrown up by COVID-19, and its 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 an international team of mental health experts, Movember Conversations is a free interactive digital tool that presents a number of scenarios relevant to today’s world including job loss, social isolation and family pressures. It uses simulated conversations to explore and practise how anyone might navigate a difficult conversation with someone they care about.

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

Movember Conversations can be found at conversations.movember.com.

If you're feeling low or overwhelmed, don't hesitate to reach out for support using these local support resources.


[i]The Social Research Centre conducted a survey, on behalf of Movember, through an online panel with 5,737 people aged 18 or older across the UK, US, Canada and Australia (approximately 1,430 respondents in each country, including 809 men in the UK, 804 men in the US, 794 men in Canada and 806 men in Australia). Response quotas were set based on age, region and gender and the final data was weighted to reflect the profiles of each country. Fieldwork ran from 22nd April – 4th May 2020.