Movember? What is it All About?

Movember is an outstanding cause that focuses on raising money for projects around the world, on finding cures for cancer, helping those who are undergoing cancer treatment and funding suicide prevention campaigns. But just as importantly, it’s a charity that gets us talking more openly about mental health.

The charity was started in 2003 in Australia by two men in a bar and their aim was to get more men talking about their health, particularly mental health. They thought there were some outstanding charities and events focused on women’s health (such as Race For Life and Wear It Pink Day) but there were no events that focused on creating conversations about men’s health.

They came up with the idea of the moustache as the perfect way to start conversations. Firstly, it’s unique and yet most men can grow one. Secondly, as all but a few inevitably look ridiculous while growing a moustache, people often ask you why you’ve decided to do this to your face! This leads to the start of a conversation on men’s health and why you’re doing it.

And that’s the beauty of Movember. By growing a moustache you can talk to people about mental health and try to remove some of the stigma surrounding it. The message is: it’s good to talk, it’s okay not to feel okay, talking about your mental health is not a sign of weakness, telling someone to ‘man up’ or ‘adopt a stiff upper lip’ is unhelpful and damaging, dealing with pressures isn’t easy and help or guidance is often needed to get through.

Since 2003 the charity has kept on growing and is now active in 21 countries and has raised over €720 million. And thanks to the Movember cause, more people are talking about mental health. Nonetheless, the World Health Organisation estimates that 510,000 men die from suicide globally each year. That’s one every minute. There is, therefore, still much to do. If you feel like things aren’t quite right, then talk to someone. Be a person of more words. Don’t suffer in silence. 

Sam Carroll

Senior School Assistant Principal of Student Wellbeing, Head of Fire House, TOK Teacher

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