Prostate cancer. Testicular cancer. Mental health. Suicide prevention.
Globally, these are all common issues men face. Many men barely have any support, and they don’t even know where to begin navigating these issues. But these men are not alone, especially during November. November is the perfect time to address men’s physical, sexual, and mental health needs through Movember, an international campaign dedicated to men’s health.
What is Movember?
Movember is an international campaign to change the face of men’s health. On the Movember website, it states, “A growing number of men – around 10.8M globally – are facing life with a prostate cancer diagnosis. Globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men. And across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 69% of all suicides.”
What is the history of Movember?
Exactly 20 years ago, in Melbourne, Australia, two mates — Travis Garone and Luke Slattery — had pondered the deep philosophical debacle of a rather hairy phenomenon, the moustache. While enjoying themselves in a quiet beer, they made a shocking realization the moustache had all but disappeared from the fashion scene. This conversation sparked an idea to resurrect the lost fashion statement.
The moustache as a fashion symbol really came into its own in England following the heavily bearded Elizabethan era. Learn more about the history of the moustache from the BBC. Travis and Luke wanted to see if they could bring back the fashion trend, but it became much more than the ability to grow facial hair. The movement began with 30 other men who challenged themselves to grow a moustache. Travis and Luke discovered that the bonding over growing a moustache could generate much-needed conversations for men.
These conversations took the organization to the next level. They began with a simple website and began fundraising for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA). At the time, Movember’s donation to the PCFA was the largest they had ever received. This was a game changer, and the organization began completely dedicating its resources to raising awareness for men’s health.
Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects worldwide, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research, and transforming how health services reach and support men. You can learn more about the timeline of the Movember’s history here.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, In the United States, in 2020 — 201,082 new prostate cancers were reported, and 32,707 males died from prostate cancer. If you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer, please reach out to your primary physician and read more on the American Cancer Society.
The state of men’s mental health
Men tend to suffer in silence, and now it is more important than ever to dismantle the mental health stigma that many face — especially men. Men are less likely to seek mental health treatment, and this results in an increase in suicide, addiction, and repressed anger and depression.
Many men still adopt traditional forms of masculinity, and this includes always being “strong” for the people in their lives. Many men will prioritize the well-being of others over their own emotional and physical needs. This unnecessary role men take to be solid and resilient only has an adverse outcome in their life-long trajectory. They are only hurting themselves, and living in pain isn’t helping anyone around them either.
According to the Pan American Health Organization, “Men’s risk-taking behaviors and their underutilization of health services are strongly linked to gender differences and predominant norms of masculinity – what it means to be a ‘man.’”
Every hour, 60 men lose the battle to suicidal thoughts across the globe. Men and women walk or run 60 miles to tackle this alarming statistic for the Move Movember initiative. All you have to do is run or walk 60 miles to participate. You can cover the distance in one go or over the month. Learn more about this here.
Participating in Movember
You can participate in Movember in many ways, such as using the #Movember hashtag to spread awareness for men’s health. Be an ally for men by sharing Movember’s resources and having more open conversations about men’s health. Contrary to popular opinion, men don’t just regularly talk about the sensitive parts of their body, i.e., testicles, and some of your encouragement could help them open up before they develop any severe problems.
Men need community-based support and positive masculinity. Movember isn’t only a campaign to address men’s health and provide them with many tools and resources but also about creating a non-judgmental, safe space for men to be men. It is about catalyzing a shift men need to feel supported and secure when they have concerns over their health. Movember is a good start, but it needs to be an ongoing effort for men to learn and address all forms of their health.