November marks the beginning of many things… cold and darker nights, the run up to Christmas and Bonfire Night. But, in recent years, November has marked the beginning of a world wide campaign to make a difference to the lives of men… Movember.
Unlike women, men are facing a healthcare crisis that isn’t widely discussed or known about. The brain child of ‘The Movember Foundation’, Movember began in 2003 and in its 13 years, it has funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world. Interestingly, unlike many women’s health organisations, the foundation is the only charity tackling the issues surrounding men’s health, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention. Through their ongoing and most noticeably, annual fund and awareness raising campaigns, they hope that by 2030 they will have reduced the number of men dying early by 25%. That’s 25% of men that can continue living their lives around their loved ones for longer than they would without the charity.
What are the issues that meant Movember was born?
The founders of Movember noticed discrepancies in the amount of fund and awareness raising that takes place around female health compared to that of their male counterparts. They noticed that prostate cancer, testicular cancer and male mental health and suicide were not being talked about, or even fund-raised for, and they decided to be the change they wanted to see in the world.
Why is it so important to think about Movember?
Cancer Research UK noted that in 2014 alone, there were around 11,300 prostate cancer deaths in the UK alone, which is 31 deaths every day. Furthermore, there were around 60 testicular cancer deaths, which is around 1 every single week. That’s men, young and old, dying as a result of illnesses that only men can suffer from, men who will no longer be able to see their loved ones or do their favourite things. ‘The Movember Foundation’ wanted to ensure that all men were equipped with the knowledge to detect these forms of cancer early and seek medical help if detection occurred. This knowledge wasn’t widespread or widely talked about, and this was where the foundation began plugging the holes in terms of what men (and women) needed to know about men’s health.
Is the month just about male forms of cancer then?
No, Movember also focuses on mental health and suicide prevention for men. According to the foundation, 1 in 8 men in the UK have experienced a mental health problem and 3 out of four 4 suicides are men. So why were we not talking about it? Movember not only encourages men to talk to one another and listen, but it lets men know that it is okay to be okay and there is nothing wrong with suffering from mental health problems as a man. The foundation is encouraging men to engage in an open discourse with each other about the issue, and want to let men know that even if they can’t talk to their friends, there is always someone there.
To speak with someone immediately regarding mental health issues, contact Samaritans on 116 123.
So, what does Movember consist of?
Movember isn’t a normal charity campaign… it isn’t just about giving money to charity boxes and one off donations. The month is widely recognised as the time in which men, with 5 million around the world last year alone getting involved, grow their moustaches. No matter what shape, size or colour, each and every moustache grown over the 30 day period acts as a ribbon of awareness for everyone who comes across it. Participants can inspire donations and conversation, just through using the hair they would normally shave off!
But women, do not fear! You don’t have to have the ability to grow a big, bushy moustache to get involved! The charity also encourages people around the world to engage in the ‘Move’ initiative. Throughout the month, they encourage people to get active, get physical and get moving towards a goal that challenges them! By moving a little, or moving a lot, participants raise vital funds to stop peoples brothers, husbands, cousins and fathers from dying prematurely.
Some ideas from ‘The Movember Foundation’s website’:
- Go 210 miles.. that’s 7 miles a day over 30 days which may seem hard, but its even harder to lose a loved one before their time.
- Get competitive! Compete with friends, family and colleagues in the name of a good cause!
- Get in the water… or over it! Swim or row this Movember! Aim for 31 miles, approximately 1,000 laps of an Olympic swimming pool!
- Get together… walk, run, swim or even skip with friends and family!
To get involved this Movember, head to www.uk.movember.com and donate, get involved or spread the word in any way you can!