Atom Uniacke Interview
The growing of a mustache in order to create awareness of men’s mental health is one of the numerous initiatives the co-founder Atom Uniacke has led since the launch of The GentleMEN Network in September 2016.
The non-profit group is based in Halifax that aims to motivate, educate and activate males to confront the stereotypes of masculinity and to embrace healthier alternative ways of being.
The GentleMEN Network aims to spark discussion about mental health issues as well as reduce the stigma surrounding talking about it, and assist those in greatest need. Since the beginning, Atom Uniacke has been a constant leader in this effort, working tirelessly in the background on initiatives like “Movember with Meaning” – the initiative which attracted more than 100 participants and helped raise nearly $10,000 for local mental health services. In the midst of all the attention on the mental health of men currently and we met with Atom Uniacke to get more information…
What brought you to create The GentleMEN Network?
As the old adage goes the world happens. I was getting ready to graduate at King’s College. University of King’s College with my degree in journalism and thought of moving to Toronto to start my new career as a journalist. Although I was always fascinated by resilience and mental health I had no intention of becoming involved in the sector. I was always on the opposite side of the table. A couple of events occurred that altered my outlook.
In my final semester at school, I received a diagnosis of anxiety. The diagnosis came as a shock and I’m happy that I was able to get help. For someone who’s always had a bad connection to medication and pills, these turned out to be exactly what I needed to return to normal. The thing that really made me think about was after I stopped taking the pills. I had hoped to feel exactly the way I did before I was diagnosed and treated however, I realized that I was different.
I became hyper-aware of my posture, breathing, and my voice, things that I had never noticed prior. It was clear that I’d been hyper-vigilant. Although I was happy with the new self-awareness and control, I became very aware of how the majority of people I knew were not equipped with it.
Moving with Significance: An Interview With Atom Uniacke
In the week leading up to Movember in the lead-up to Movember, the GentleMEN Network recruited over 100 members and raised nearly 10,000 dollars for local programs in mental health.
In the run-up to Movember, the GentleMEN Network decided to build upon the momentum generated by Movember by launching a campaign known as “Movember with Meaning.” Its goal was to find more than 100 participants and to raise nearly 10,000 dollars in funds for local mental health services. It was a big undertaking considering that it was a relatively new initiative.
GentleMEN Network was still relatively young, yet they managed to make it succeed. One of the most memorable aspects of the event was a panel discussion that took place in Halifax Central Library.
Halifax Central Library. The panel was comprised of local mental health experts and experts, such as Doctors. Andrew Macdonald and Mike Bell who is the author of Mad Enough to Visit the Psychiatrist.
The GentleMEN Network’s Latest Effort: “Mental Health Month”
The GentleMEN Network is currently in the process of preparing for its first Mental Health Month.
The purpose of the initiative is to increase awareness of mental health issues and to create a safe environment where men can talk about their challenges and seek assistance. It will also include the creation of a digital calendar of content, including articles and video content about mental health and a variety of live activities, as well as a collaboration together with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Nova Scotia and PEI.
One particular event has gained momentum already. “Let’s Talk” is a panel discussion featuring Doctor. Andrew Macdonald and Mike Bell and special guests Ian Black, President and CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association – Nova Scotia and PEI, Pete Robidoux of the Mood Disorder Society of Canada, as well as others.
This event will take place in Halifax’s Oval located in Halifax on the 19th of March between 7:00 and 9:00 in the evening.
It’s amazing to watch this GentleMEN Network expand throughout the past year. This has given me the opportunity to pursue my passions and to use my love of media and mental health to make a positive difference.
The community response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’ve had the privilege to work with a variety of amazing local groups, such as those the Canadian Mental Health Association, Mood Disorders Society of Canada, Campaign for Suicide Prevention as well as the Canadian Centre for Men and Families.
We’re looking forward to the next chapter and look forward to continuing invigorating, instructing, and encouraging men to live healthier, more fulfilling lives.