It’s business in the front, party in the back… and mental health awareness all around.
Every September, Black Dog Institute (BDI) — a mental health research organization in Australia — runs the Mullets for Mental Health campaign, encouraging community members to grow mullets and fundraise together to support mental health research initiatives.
BDI is the only medical research institute in Australia that investigates mental health across the lifespan. The organization’s goal is to create a mentally healthier world for everyone — and especially the five million Australians who experience symptoms of mental illness every year.
This research is done through studies, educational programs, digital tools and apps, clinical services, and public resources. The goal is to discover new solutions, foster connections, and create real-world change.
Combining science, compassion, and action, BDI’s partnerships with Australian communities, governments, schools, and businesses seeks to make evidence-informed change in mental health.
The cool haircut is just a bonus.
So you want to grow a mullet for mental health?
In years past, it might have felt silly to grow a mullet for any reason, but even GQ UK declared mullets as the “must-have hairstyle of 2022.”
So, growing a mullet in the name of mental health awareness? It’s a win-win.
The campaign goes like this: Community members sign up for free to join the circle of style icons. Then, it’s up to individuals to shape and grow their mullets and debut their new ‘do during September. Lastly, participants use their sweet style to promote the mission of Black Dog Institute and raise funds to support mental health.
Folks can sign up as individuals, as a team, or through a workplace. (We’re absolutely obsessed with the idea of the whole Zoom call being filled with mulleted managers.)
Not ready to make the chop? You can also groom your pets or encourage your kiddos to rock a mullet all month long.
There are also some comedic campaign rewards, like a mullet hat and a pair of underwear, for participants to earn through their fundraising efforts.
The campaign comes at an especially thoughtful time, as September is also Suicide Prevention Month. BDI reports that suicide is the leading cause of death for Australian men aged 18-24. By sporting this style, men can drive real change — and conversation — to support one another.
BDI shares that the funds of these campaigns help reach people through free workshops, support research to better understand why people at risk of suicide don’t seek help, and develop new technology to help people manage ongoing mental health conditions.
In the past, the fundraising efforts have raised over $1.4 million for mental health research, all thanks to over 8,300 mullets.
Why is this good news?
Creative solutions to problems, including fundraising efforts, innovative technology, and ongoing research make the world a better place. With a subject as personal and heavy as mental health, BDI and the Mullets for Mental Health project brings joy and community to conversations that may otherwise be stigmatizing.
The funds raised in this initiative are also something to celebrate. This money helps BDI connect with rural communities to provide educational and support services, help students access apps to help them sleep, deepen clinical research, and improve biological treatments and psychological therapies.
BDI works specifically to support the 65% of people in its community who would not ordinarily seek help when struggling with mental health. A conversation starter and connector, a haircut can mean the difference between siloed mental health struggles and a system of support.
How can you make a difference?
Although this year’s campaign is already well under way, you can still support the fundraising efforts of the Mullets for Mental Health project, or read some of the stories of BDI’s Mullet Legends, who have made an impact in previous campaigns.
And you don’t have to be from Down Under to participate, either! The only restriction for the campaign is that children 16 and under need a signed parental consent form to begin fundraising. People from all over the world can participate in this event and raise funds for mental health research.
Plan your mullet style for next September, see if your local barbershop will host a team, or ask your employer to match your donation. You can even sponsor a mullet and help raise funds without cutting your own mane.
To learn more, visit the Mullets for Mental Health webpage.
You might also like:
- This collection of mental health shirts that raise money for nonprofits
- Our guide to the best mental health podcasts
- And these apps and resources to support the mental health of Black Americans
- This curated list of suicide quotes to cultivate hope
- Actions you can take for Mental Health Awareness Month and Suicide Prevention Month
- This good news story about Black barbers supporting mental health and this one about a peer-run mental health respite center