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Just what exactly is Movember?

Every year when November comes around, I hear about Movember, a large movement I know is connected to men’s health. However, that is the length and breadth of my knowledge. So, this year, instead of continuing my ignorance of the movement and its aims, I decided to educate myself (and you) about it.

So just what is Movember? Who started it? Why is it important? And what can I do to help?

Its origins

The movement was born in 2003 in a bar in Australia by a group of men who challenged each other and their friends to grow a moustache to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men. Since 2003, the movement has expanded across the globe with people growing moustaches and partaking in other physical challenges to raise awareness and money for men’s health.

Why is it important?

Men’s health, both mental and physical, has been brought into the public consciousness for many years with several influential figures sharing their own personal battles and encouraging others do the same. Yet, the figures show that this a conversation is one that still needs to be had.

In the UK, the statistics depict a bleak picture:

· One in five men die before 65

· Four out of five suicides are male

· 67% of men are overweight or obese

Men are also affected by the ideals attached to manliness and what it is to be a ‘man’. For decades, being a man has been linked to this idea of unyielding strength. Crying, depression and anxiety in men were looked down upon, the sufferers mocked for their perceived weakness. In the UK, lad-like behaviour includes excessive drinking, smoking and unhealthy dietary habits. All these things contribute to bleak and dire statistics and require dramatic changes to ameliorate the situation.

So, what changes you ask? How can I help?

There are many things that we as a society can do to improve the situation surrounding men’s health and support Movember.

Firstly, it is up to us to change the conversation surrounding manliness. We need to encourage conversations around mental health in men. It is time to normalise men crying, eating healthy, speaking about their physical and mental health.

Secondly, we should men to get prostate cancer blood tests. As with all cancers, detecting it early can save lives. Black men and those who have a family history with the illness are particularly vulnerable and therefore, should be see about getting tested.

Lastly, Movember can be supported in many ways. Donate money and support those who are engaging in activities for the month. Better yet, become a MoBro or MoSista yourself and join this amazing global movement. For more info, click here

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