Movember – Changing the Face of Men’s Health
Guest Blog By: Mark Hedstrom, U.S. Country Director of Movember *
Movember is the global event which celebrates the good things men contribute to society and highlights some of the challenges they face. One of the key issues it aims to address is the need to improve the emotional and physical health of men around the world. To say that the state of men’s health needs to be improved is an understatement.
On average, throughout the world, men die six years earlier than women from causes that for the most part are preventable. Mental health challenges and suicide also disproportionately affect men. Three of every four deaths by suicide are male and it is the second leading cause of death for men under the age of 44.
Since Movember was established in the U.S. 12 years ago, millions of conversations about men’s health have been started among men because one of them has suddenly grown a moustache and continued to wear it proudly throughout the month of November. These conversations are vital because during this month alone, more than three thousand men in the U.S. will die by suicide.
A recent report released by Movember revealed that half of young men still avoid talking about the challenges they are facing because they don’t want to appear less masculine. And despite the fact that more than 75 percent of men say they believe talking openly is an effective way of tackling problems, younger men were reluctant to do so.
Traditional ideas that men should be emotionally strong, stoic in the face of challenges and completely self-reliant can prevent them from seeking the help they need. As a society, we’ve made great progress when it comes to breaking norms around gender and changing perceptions of what it means to be a man today – but there is still a long way to go.
One of the ways Movember is committed to tackling the men’s mental health crisis is by challenging the stereotypes that prevent men from speaking up. We know that humor is an effective way to reach men because it eases the way into forming real connections and conversations. That’s the idea behind this year’s ‘Whatever You Grow, Will Save A Bro’ campaign. It’s not a macho competition to grow the most impressive moustache; the straggly, lop-sided and patchy ones are all just as important because they all raise awareness and start conversations.
If we are to achieve our goal of reducing male suicides by 25 percent over the next decade, we need to put aside those differences and start having more meaningful conversations. There is still time to participate in Movember, so it’s not too late to join our fight to ensure that men everywhere live longer, healthier and happier lives.
(Visit Each Mind Matter’s Step Up resource page for more related content about men’s mental health)
Mark Hedstrom is the U.S. Country Director of Movember. Sign up or donate at Movember.com
*Guest blog: Each Mind Matters provides a platform for open dialogue and varying perspectives about mental health. The opinions of the author of guest blogs don’t necessarily reflect those of Each Mind Matters. If you have questions or comments about a blog written by a guest writer we encourage you to continue the discussion with the author by contacting the organization listed in the bio.