Ready, set, mo! Ahead of the Game swings into action at Southern Cross University

Published 1 November 2019
Robert Lingard ready for Movember Rob Lingard, Senior Pastoral Care Coordinator at Southern Cross University - and his massive mo.

November is Movember, and it has one goal: to stop men dying too young.

As we wait for the handlebars, Super Marios and Imperials to reach their luxuriant potential this month, Southern Cross University is putting a spotlight on men’s mental health through sport.

Ahead of the Game, an evidence-based mental health program funded by Movember, is being co-led by Southern Cross University researcher Dr Christian Swann, in partnership with Dr Stewart Vella of the University of Wollongong.

The program includes workshops for adolescents, parents, and coaches that develop skills to manage setbacks and challenges in sport and life; promote mental health literacy and help-seeking; and help parents and coaches identify concerning versus normal adolescent behaviour.

The goal is to roll-out Ahead of the Game across five countries.

“It’s great to partner with Movember and to use our expertise in the areas of sport and psychology,” said Dr Swann.

“More than two-thirds of all adolescent males take part in organised sports each year. Ahead of the Game creates an environment for important conversations around mental health. The research that we are doing is not only targeting adolescents but also their parents and coaches. It’s not necessarily just one age group that is affected.”

As part of the program rollout, Southern Cross University is sponsoring a Movember Golf Day at Sawtell Golf Club in Coffs Harbour on November 17.

Owen Brigstock-Barron, the Director for Young Men’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention at Movember, said physical activities like golf were a great way to get involved in the Movember campaign.

“There’s also the challenge to walk or run 60km over the month, you can host various events or, of course, grow a moustache.”

Partnering with both universities has made an enormous difference in the program delivery, said Mr Brigstock-Barron.

“It helps us stay true to the evidence and adapt it to the target group. It also allows us to localise, and use a human-centred design approach, reaching men in their environments,” he said.

Mr Brigstock-Barron has visited the University’s Coffs Harbour campus to inspect the new $12 million Health Sciences Building which will open soon.

His top tip for growing a mo this month?

“Always start with a clean shave, and a wet shave is better than dry. Keep it well moisturised and it will be perfect by the month’s end!” said Mr Brigstock-Barron.


Southern Cross University Movember Golf Day

Swing a club in support of men’s mental health at the Southern Cross University Movember Golf Day on Sunday 17 November 2019 at Sawtell Golf Club, near Coffs Harbour.

Register your team with The Sawtell Pro Shop on (02) 6653 1006. All proceeds go to the Movember Foundation.


Southern Cross University’s Movember Team

Join Southern Cross University’s Movember Team to raise funds by growing a mo, taking on the 60km challenge, or hosting an event:

Media contact: Sharlene King 0429 661 349 or