Flinders Joins Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing

Research focusing on male health and wellbeing has received a considerable boost, with Flinders University and Flinders Foundation joining the Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing.

To mark Men’s Health Week, nine Flinders University research projects will receive funding from this newly expanded male health research alliance, across prostate cancer, Aboriginal health and mental health.

Among them is Professor Murray Drummond, whose research will seek to improve the mental health of young Indigenous and non-Indigenous males in South Australia and the Northern Territory by focusing on the role of sporting clubs as “safe spaces” to promote mental health and wellbeing.

“Sport remains a significant rite of passage for males in Australian society and we have a culture of males passing through sporting clubs at early ages,” Professor Drummond explained.

“If we can make these often ‘masculinised’ sporting spaces, spaces for men to feel comfortable about addressing any health issues they have, then that’s going to provide them with such important support, and something that’s far beyond just a game of football or cricket.”

Professor Drummond was grateful for support from the Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing in expanding the focus on men’s health. 

“The mental health and wellbeing of young males in particular is not being adequately addressed… they have a significant risk of self-harm and suicide, while those who identify as Indigenous and LGBTIQ are at even greater risk,” Professor Drummond said.

“Traditionally there’s been a big focus on medical research, but it’s wonderful the Centre is mirroring the cultural shift in society and taking a holistic approach to men’s health by looking at every facet of health and wellbeing and how that can be improved - including mental, emotional and physical health.”

The Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing is a research alliance involving the Masonic Charities Trust (the charitable arm of Freemasons SA/NT), the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, Flinders Foundation and SAHMRI in South Australia and Menzies School of Health Research in the Northern Territory.

The Masonic Charities Trust and Flinders Foundation will contribute an initial $1.2 million over two years for men’s health research based at Flinders University.

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint said he was delighted Flinders University could contribute its research expertise to tackling the challenges in men’s health.

“It’s well known that men have particular health challenges such as prostate cancer and can carry a higher burden in relation to certain diseases and mental health issues. These challenges are even more pronounced for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men,” Professor Saint said.

“The initiative shown by the Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, co-funded by the Masonic Charities Trust and Flinders Foundation, will bring additional weight to our efforts to address some of the leading causes of male ill health, including prostate cancer and mental health, with a particular focus on health and wellbeing for Indigenous men.”

Newly funded Flinders University projects include:

Prostate Cancer:

  • Dr Gobert Lee – Deep Decision-Making for Prostate Tumour Gleason Score 7 – Active Surveillance or Radical Treatment?
  • Associate Professor Michael O’Callaghan – Expanding Clinical Prostate Cancer Research Capacity.
  • Dr Norma B. Bulamu – Quality of life assessment in routine care for prostate cancer
  • Associate Professor Luke Selth – Investigating the effects of androgen therapies on the prostate immune system.

Aboriginal Men’s Health:

  • Dr Tamara Mackean – Translation of knowledge into practice: building the wellbeing of Aboriginal men and boys using an ecological framework.
  • Professor Murray Drummond – Young Males, Masculinity and Mental Health: Attitudes, Behaviours and Education through Sport.

Men and Boys’ Mental Health:

  • Professor Robert Adams – Using COVID-19 pandemic data on mental and physical health in Australian men to design Just In Time Adaptive interventions.
  • Associate Professor Ben Wadham – Veteran Suicide: Men, Health, Service.
  • Dr Ryan Balzan – Maximising the effectiveness of psychological treatment for young men with psychosis.

Read the Media Release from Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing here.

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