Mo’ money: Ryerson nets $3-million Movember Foundation grant

The month of the moustache is days away,  but Ryerson is already reaping the benefits of the fundraising that goes along with it.

The Movember Foundation awarded Ryerson a $3-million grant  on Wednesday that will help fund research that aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in the Asian community.

“This is one of the largest research grants Ryerson has ever received,” said Wendy Cukier, Ryerson’s vice-president of research and innovation.

Ryerson Nursing Professor Sepali Guruge is the head researcher of the mental illness stigma project that recieved a $3 million grant from the Movember Foundation.

Ryerson University Nursing Professor Sepali Guruge is the head researcher of the mental illness stigma project that received a $3-million grant from the Movember Foundation. (Courtesy Ryerson University).

The project led by principal investigator Sepali Guruge, a professor in Ryerson’s Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing will evaluate two anti-stigma interventions aimed at males in Asian communities across Canada.

“Mental health is so stigmatized, so people do not seek treatment that they ought to,” Cukier said. “Some communities are even less likely to get care for mental illness as a result of this stigmatization. The research focuses on real problems and will have a practical impact in Canada by making a real difference in communities.”

The Movember Foundation provides one of the largest non-governmental investments in the mental health field in Canada. McGill University and Queen’s University are among the seven other grant recipients to receive a chunk of the $12 million the organization has awarded for men’s mental health initiatives.

“This funding is being awarded to projects supporting men at so many stages of life; from adolescence to university, to first-time dads, and to those moving into retirement,” said Paul Villanti, executive director of the Movember Foundation.

The research will focus on 2,160 men from the Asian community living in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.

“Through this project, we aim to engage boys and men from these communities to become mental health ambassadors who will take on leadership roles in building anti-stigma efforts in their own cultural communities,” said Guruge in a press release.

Cukier said conducting research and raising awareness on the topic of mental health stigma is vital to Canadians. The work will draw upon areas of research strength at Ryerson – diversity and health.

The grant will also benefit the pocketbooks of Ryerson staff and students.

“When faculty members receive large grants, they will hire paid research assistants, which are almost always students. So realistically, a lot of the money goes back to the student body because it creates jobs,” Cukier said.

Cukier said that Ryerson has tripled research funding over the past 10 years. According to Research Infosource, Ryerson is ranked 27th in research income among research-intensive universities and 11th in non-medical universities.

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