Student support system

Student support system

New group at Queen’s focuses on mental wellness for students.

By Anne Craig

November 9, 2015


A group of students on campus is examining the way the university community views mental health, stereotypes related to masculinity, and substance abuse, particularly in young adult males.

Dave Rennick (l) and Brian Earl are leading the Queen's For The Boys group on the Queen's campus.

Queen’s For The Boys (QFTB) was formed as part of the Caring Campus Project, a project created in fall 2013 thanks to a $1.7 million grant from Movember Canada. Led by Heather Stuart (Centre for Health Services and Policy Research and Public Health Sciences) and colleagues Shu-Ping Chen (Public Health Sciences) and Terry Krupa (School of Rehabilitation Therapy), the project focuses on mental wellness and safe substance use for first-year students.

“This group is incredibly focused on their goals and wants to develop sustainable programs that will continue long after the funding is finished,” says research assistant Josh Decaire. “We want to provide support to encourage healthy masculinity on campus.”

Headed by Dave Rennick (Sc’18) and Brian Earl (Artsci’18), QFTB has developed a strong social media presence, held a number of events and is raising its profile through a poster promotion on campus.

“The ‘for the boys’ culture has always had a negative image, but we are trying to turn that around,” says Mr. Rennick. “We want to take the name back, make it something positive. We need to change some of the culture on campus. We aren’t an anti-drinking organization, but a group that stresses responsible drinking and creating a positive image of masculinity.”

Along with the Facebook page, QFTB has also developed two videos that explore healthy masculinity and drinking culture among young males. There is also a movie screening of The Mask You Live In in the Ban Righ Fireside Room on Wednesday, Nov. 18 starting at 6:30 pm. The documentary looks at how North American culture's narrow definition of masculinity is affecting young men and society.

“This group is relevant to everyone, not just young males, and we are already seeing the impact the group is having on campus,” says Mr. Earl. “There are a number of stressors when young students are transitioning to independence and we want to provide a supportive environment for them.”

The Caring Campus Project is a joint effort between Queen’s, Dalhousie University and the University of Calgary.