This month raises awareness for men’s mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Movember was started in 2003 but two friends meeting over a drink in a bar in Australia, who decided it would be great to bring back the moustache! They managed to encourage 30 men to join them in growing a moustache and decided to raise money to support men’s health and prostate cancer. In 2004, they ran the fundraiser again, this time with 480 members. By then, they had raised over £21,000 and funded 6 men’s mental health projects. 
In 2007, the founders Travis Garone and Luke Slattery decided to expand and they officially launched their campaign in America, gaining support from prostate cancer charities. They now had 6 countries on board, over 200,000 members and had raised over 13 million to fund 73 men’s mental health projects. 
Fast forward to 2020 and this simple idea that started in a local bar, has gained global awareness for such important issues and it now has 20 countries on board with over 6 million members and has supported 1250 men’s health projects across the world. 
Isn’t it amazing what can be achieved by the determination of two men and a moustache?? Obviously, Movember is now a collective effort across the world providing much needed support to men who are in need of this help.
Men are dying 5 times earlier than women and when considering the suicide statistics, men account for 75% of these. Globally, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day.  That’s a sobering thought.
So why is it that men are less likely to seek help for their mental health?
In a nutshell, this was reported as a key reason why men do not seek help for their mental health. Society still places a stigma on men seeking help and although this has improved over the years, we still have a long way to go to challenge the stereotypes that exist, that men are the breadwinners, the strong ones, the ones in control. The expectations that men don’t talk about their feelings means that they are passively encouraged to keep it all in and their ability to develop emotional literacy is weakened. 
Whilst this is not the case for all men, the Mental Health Foundation found that another reason why men do not seek help is because they are more likely to use damaging coping mechanisms to distract from the issues worrying them, such as drugs and alcohol and these present further complications of their own. These coping mechanisms also inhibit the ability to recognise when you are struggling with mental health, they make it difficult to see the signs. 
As a society, we need to do better, we need to do more in order to minimise the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and encourage more men to speak out. The message from the Movember campaign is for men to look out for each other too. They have been promoting the ALEC model as a way of checking in with your friends:
A – ask – are you ok, I’m worried about you? If they say I’m fine, use your intuition and ask again if necessary.
L – listen – give them your full attention.
E – encourage action – suggest seeking professional help, eating better, exercising more.
C – check in – follow up with another conversation to see how they are doing.
This is such a simple process, but one that could make a huge difference to a man who is struggling and needs some support.
Here are some helpful resources that could help with more information surrounding men’s mental health:
Roman Kemp – Our silent emergency documentary – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p098hsv6
Movember official website – https://uk.movember.com/?home
Joey Essex – Grief and me – https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p09hy0vh/joey-essex-grief-and-me
Four men talk about mental health podcast – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/podcasts/four-men-talk-about-mental-health
I hope you have found this blog useful and that it has given you some food for thought. Remember, check in with the men in your life, let them know they are not alone.
Hayley LAPHP LNRPC