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Movember Invests $17.6 Million in community-driven strategies to support Indigenous men's health empowerment

Joseph Guenzler -

The Glen, an Aboriginal community-controlled drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre on the Central Coast of New South Wales is emerging as a beacon of hope in the landscape of Indigenous men's health initiatives.

Supported by funding from Movember, The Glen's Cultural Warriors program intertwines Indigenous culture and values throughout its rehabilitation efforts, providing a safe haven for men to reclaim their lives.

With a commitment spanning over a decade, Movember has tirelessly worked to bolster the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous men worldwide.

Now, with the establishment of the Movember Institute of Men's Health, these efforts are set to undergo a significant transformation.

Over the next seven years, an ambitious investment totalling $59.5 million will fuel Indigenous men’s health initiatives across Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Canada, and the USA.

Central to this initiative is The Glen, which embodies a holistic approach to men's rehabilitation.

Through a dynamic mix of educational support, physical exercise and specialised counselling services, The Glen addresses a myriad of issues including grief, trauma, financial struggles, gambling addiction, parenting challenges and anger management.

Australian Indigenous Programs Manager at Movember, Raymond Rosendale said; "By taking a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing, and by working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities at a grassroots level, we know that we can transform health outcomes – not just for Indigenous men but for whole Indigenous communities".

"We're witnessing this first-hand, with initiatives like The Glen's Cultural Warriors Program in New South Wales, which is empowering First Nations men to reclaim agency over their health and cultural heritage," Mr Rosendale said.

Research indicates that Indigenous culture, identity, and self-determination are pivotal in shielding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from psychological distress.

The Movember Institute of Men's Health has allocated $17.61 million to support Indigenous communities and organisations throughout Australia in the upcoming seven years.

Kabi Kabi man, Dr Mark Wenitong said the investment aims to to help Indigenous communities create their own health plans, listening closely to local voices to improve outcomes for Indigenous men.

"The amount thats invested in Australia is $17.6 million and this is headed straight for empowering First Nations communities and organisations designing and implementing their own social and emotional wellbeing health strategies," Mr Wenitong said.

"So we're trying to listen to the voices of local indigenous people to improve health outcomes for our Indigenous men."

A joint evaluation of the Cultural Warriors Program by Movember, The Glen, and the Djurali Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research and Education at Macquarie University revealed the significant impact of integrating cultural activities within the rehabilitation program.

This integration was found to result in sustainable enhancements in health and wellbeing among Indigenous men.

The sense of belonging cultivated through these activities frequently resulted in heightened self-worth and a stronger sense of pride in cultural identity.

These positive outcomes not only enriched the experiences of participants at The Glen but also facilitated positive behaviours throughout their rehabilitation journey and subsequent reintegration into the community.

The Glen Dance Group is made up of current residents, former clients and The Glen staff. (Image: supplied)

Program Manager at The Glen Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre, Aaron More said the joint initiative aims to make a lasting impact on participants.

"We want to help men kick the cycle of addiction, but we don't just want to patch things up, we want to rebuild things from the roots," Mr More said.

"It’s not just about recovery; it’s about rediscovery of self and culture.

"When we send men back into society, we want them to carry an arsenal of tools so that they can live a profoundly better life."

By expanding the range of programs and services rooted in Indigenous culture and grounded in holistic health principles, the potential to significantly narrow the health disparities faced by Indigenous men can be addressed.

This approach aims to pave the way for a healthier future for Indigenous men, not only within local contexts but on a global scale.

Movember invites interested parties to submit their Expressions of Interest to explore Movember’s ongoing work with Indigenous communities.

Successful submissions will be guided by an International Indigenous Advisory Committee, comprising Indigenous representatives from around the world.

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