Written by: Makensie Kincade | Health Promotion Specialist at Allianz TotalLife Fitness Center | AdvantageHealth Corporation
November, or Movember, is men's health awareness month. This month is about enhancing the importance of men's three most significant health issues: mental health, suicide prevention, and prostate or testicular cancer. While all types of health at any age, gender, and ethnicity are important to discuss, reports indicate that men are less likely to receive help from a professional for health services half of the time compared to women. In addition, men only comprised one-third of referrals to health services.
Why is this? This barrier seems to derive from multiple factors, masculinity being one of them as well as how masculinity is defined when seeking help. First, the societal messages of masculinity seem to conflict with seeking help or expressing emotions. Essentially, if you ask for help, you are seen as less of a man by many. A study highlighted this conflict by asking men about seeking help. Multiple participants stated that asking for help was "girly" or conflicted with the notion of being a man.
What has been done? Movember is a movement that addresses men's health globally. Movember began in 2003 when friends Travis Garone and Luke Slattery grew mustaches to launch a fundraising campaign focusing on men's health issues. This movement is now one of the largest charities globally, dedicated to men's health. Since this campaign began, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men's health projects worldwide. This fundraising, in turn, allowed health services to reach and support men and boys everywhere.
Along with all the issues the Movember movement addresses, its efforts are behavioral health driven. Statistically, men on a global scale die from suicide every minute, every day. In the United States alone, 4 out of 5 suicides are men. With these statistics, Movember digs deep into mental health awareness for men. The goal is to support men to take care of themselves not only physically but mentally as well. To accomplish this, all men are encouraged to have better social connections with trusted friends, family, and colleagues. Recent research showed that having these connections helps break through the societal stigma of masculinity, keeping men from seeking help and facing the behavioral problems they may have.
"Grow a mo; be a mo bro". Movember encourages all men to grow a mustache throughout the month of November in support of their movement. Check out movember.com to find resources and education on men's mental health and ways to support the cause by attending events, running a 5k, or starting a fundraiser. Create a conversation with the men in your life. You never know who you may help or impact along the way.