Movember is here. No, that’s not a typo. Movember is an annual event that sees millions of men across the world grow a moustache in the name of charity and promoting men’s health awareness. Anyone with the ability to grow and groom their facial hair can join in, by sporting a fetching moustache for the whole of November, asking mates to sponsor them and sparking important conversations about men’s health issues wherever they go. All while thinking more about your own health and how you can protect it longer-term.
How did it all begin?
In 2003, two Australians met over some beers (of course…) to discuss how they could bring the moustache back into mainstream fashion while doing good for the wider male community. Travis Garone and Luke Slattery saw their idea grow from these small beginnings into a global phenomenon, with millions of men across 21 countries taking part and raising valuable funds for charities and initiatives supporting such key male health issues as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health, physical wellbeing and suicide prevention – all key issues affecting men of all ages across the world today.
What do you have to do?
It’s quite simple. Participating men start on the 1st of November with a clean-shaven face and then let their facial hair grow into a thing of glory. You can shape your moustache or beard, but it must stay on your face for the full 30 days to complete the challenge. Take your pick of the different moustache styles available. From a thin line of facial fluff to the full-on handlebar, you can choose how to express yourself.
Encourage friends and family to sponsor you to raise money and check out the main Movember website to see how else you can get involved. Talk to people about why you are taking part and do your own research into the male health issues being highlighted. You can show your support from head to toe with some moustache themed socks too. After it is all over, keep the momentum going by volunteering for a male health charity, take part in a fundraising event and make a plan to protect your own health by going to the gym, taking up a new sport and vowing to keep talking and connecting to good mates to protect your own mental wellbeing.
Why is it so important?
Movember seeks to raise awareness and funding for several key medical and psychological issues facing men and boys today. Testicular and prostate cancer awareness campaigns are crucial to encourage men to spot any signs of cancer and to act on them quickly, taking time to visit a doctor and to follow lifestyle advice to lower the risks. Removing the stigma of mental health problems for men is equally important, as many men feel reluctant to seek help when they are suffering, thanks to unhelpful stereotypes around how men are ‘supposed’ to be perceived.
Movember is supporting campaigns to challenge and remove these stigmas and stereotypes, raise awareness of how men affected by poor mental health can seek help and provide funding for such schemes to be able to carry on their good work. Finally, suicide is one of the biggest killers of young men and can devastate entire families and communities. Movember has the stated aim of reducing the rate of male suicide by 25% by the year 2030.
How else can you support Movember?
Becoming a ‘Mo Bro’ by growing your facial hair is just the beginning. The Movember concept has grown to take in merchandise, such as mugs, clothing, keyrings and more with moustache designs available to buy. There are a huge range of socks with moustache motifs on them that you can wear to show your support. Women are encouraged to support and encourage the men in their lives to carry out the Movember challenge and to donate to any fundraising efforts alongside their fathers, brothers, sons, partners, colleagues and friends. They even have their own name, ‘Mo Sistas’.
Longer-term, the effects of Movember and its mission to raise awareness of male health issues can last way beyond the 30 days of November. You can help keep the conversation going by talking about the issues involved at any suitable opportunity. Letting your male friends know that you are there for them will help enormously too. In this busy, technology-driven world it can be a lonely place when you are in despair and knowing that you have a listening ear and a non-judgemental, compassionate person to turn to can often make all the difference; you could even save a life by simply reaching out to someone you know or suspect may be suffering.
Find out more, or donate to the cause by visiting the Movember website: www.uk.movember.com.