"I was kind of touched by the role that women plan in men's lives in terms of encouraging them to lead a healthy life, to see doctors, to feel comfortable to talk about depression and mental health issues," the actress tells PEOPLE

By Christina Dugan
Updated November 03, 2015 12:45 AM
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Credit: Vince Flores/Startraks

Emmy Rossum is opening up about her partnership with The Movember Foundation – and the real meaning behind all those unshaven faces you’ll see throughout the month of November.

“Obviously I always knew about the mustache thing that happens in november, but I didn’t really know what it was about” Rossum, 29, tells PEOPLE. “When I learned more about it, I was kind of touched by the role that women play in men’s lives in terms of encouraging them to lead a healthy life, to see doctors, to feel comfortable to talk about depression and mental health issues.”

Rossum, who has participated in many different philanthropic efforts, partnered with The Movember Foundation – a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier, longer lives – to raise awareness about prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.

Though the foundation’s sole purpose is focused towards men’s health, Rossum strongly believes that “women do play a big role in that, in terms of being a support system and a sounding board and an encouraging force in their lives.”

The Shameless star, who recently got engaged to Sam Esmail, thinks that striking up a conversation is key when it comes to raising awareness.

“It’s important to start a dialogue, not only about the physical health issues that the men in our lives that we love, but also some of the things that they might not be as comfortable talking about that hopefully we can help illuminate and take the stigma away from talking about these things,” Rossum says.

Though Rossum jokes that she will not be growing a mustache this November, she does admit to digging the scruffy look on her fiancé.

“I’m into how it looks, I’m not into how it feels,” she says.