I’m a man and no less of a man for admitting ‘I’m not okay’ and for openly talking about the constant struggle and battle I face with myself every single day.Joe Plumb
To begin, I’d like to share some important yet harrowing statistics. Men die on average 5 years earlier than women. 75% of suicides in the UK are male. Approximately one man every minute globally is lost to suicide. More than 1.4 million men worlwide are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year; 10.8 million are currently living with the illness. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer amongst men aged between 15 and 39. While I know that’s plenty of information to digest in such a short space of time, I’m sure we can both agree that’s all fairly shocking right? Whether you’re striving for a world where more men can speak about their mental health, and receive the approriate treatment, you’ve faced cancer yourself or you’re aiming for a world where more men can survive a diagnoses and live a meaningful, fulfilled life, there are so many ways you can support the movement that is revolutionsing the way we think and act on men’s health issues.
Now we know a small snippet of the huge problems men continue to face, I thought it’d be useful to discuss some of the biggest aims and projects that the Movember charity has created to address such problems. Since its inception in 2003, an idea that started over a quiet beer between founders Travis Garone and Luke Slattery in Melbourne, Australia, this ever-growing movement has funded over 1250 men’s health projects, recruited approximately 6.5 million ‘Mo bros and sisters’ and reached over 20 countries including the UK, USA, Spain, France, South Africa, Germany, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong. Not bad for something that was thought up over an informal chat in a bar right? And the great thing is they’re only just getting started.
In doing what others are not, uniting leading experts, listening to communities and advocating for what men really want, we can look forward to a future where vital research is advanced and more men can access quality and appropriate treatment when necessary. We cannot afford to leave people behind!
Even amongst the huge challenges and serious dire consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that be physically, mentally, socially or financially, Movember maintained a relentless commitment to men’s health and announced the funding of 34 separate projects that will work to support the mental health and wellbeing of men and boys. Not only that- and arguably more importantly- they decided to launch a mass media ‘behaviour change’ campaign aimed at encouraging millions more young men to talk about their mental health.
As someone who’s struggled with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts for a number of years now, almost on a daily basis, I can definitely see the huge positive strides we’ve taken across society in the way we view and treat mental health problems. However the fight is not over. Far from it in fact. Campaigns and projects like ones introduced by Movember, amongst other charities, are a giant step in the right direction though. The more we pull together and recognise the changes that need to be made, the better the lives of men/boys in the long term. It’s easy to sit there and think you can’t make a difference, probably because we often think only as individuals, however this charity is living proof of what can be achieved when we establish clear goals and a sense of community! No matter who you are or where you come from, you can get on board with this movement, or be impacted by the issues Movember seeks to reduce. And the great thing is you’re not alone in the battle! Alone we can do little; together we can do so much…
If you wish to donate to my personal or team fundraising page, laugh at my terrible attempt at growing a moustache, or simply find out more about the life-changing work Movember continues to achieve, please visit the links below. Oh, and why not grow a moustache yourself or take on a challenge of your own? You’ve nothing to lose! There are so many cool and inventive ways you can get involved!
Thanks for reading,