Everything you need to know about Movember

05 October 2017

As October draws to an end, the year's hairiest month – Movember – is nearly upon us. Before your social media feeds fill with moustachioed men, revisit the Movember cause and everything you need to know to help out, moustache or not.

How it all began

It turns out blokes aren’t too good at taking caring of their health, both mental and physical. So in 2003 a couple of Aussie mates – Travis Garone and Luke Slattery – had a harebrained idea (or hair-faced as the case may be), to coerce some of their friends into growing some top lip hair for a good cause: to raise awareness of men’s health and prostate cancer. 15 years on and the now-global movement has raised over $850 million, with over 5 million participants across 21 countries and growing. Their mission: to help change the face of men’s health.

The state of men’s health

The Movember cause didn’t happen in a vacuum, with some alarming statistics illustrating the need to bring the discussion of men’s health out into the mainstream. And though the Movember mission may have started somewhat in jest, it soon became apparent that in Australia and abroad, men’s mental health is in a state of crisis.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the leading cause of death for men between the ages of 15-44 is suicide, with men more than 3 times more likely to commit suicide than women. Men also die 6 years earlier, on average, than women. While this isn’t due to one contributing factor, men often stay silent on matters pertaining to health, both mental and physical, which exacerbates the problem.

Movember and prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men (Cancer Council Australia) in Australia and it is the second biggest cancer killer for men. The tragedy of this is that early detection and treatment can significantly improve the chances of prostate cancer survival, however many men often ignore the early warning signs and don’t seek treatment until it’s too late. That’s why the Movember Foundation is championing the importance of bringing the men’s health conversation out into the open.

How can you help out?

Contributing to Movember is easy and you don’t have to grow a mo’ to get involved. Here are 6 ways you can contribute to Movember and men’s health:

  1. become a Mo Bro, grow a mo’, and get your friends, family, or colleagues to donate
  2. become a Mo Sista. You don’t have to be a man to care about men’s health. Men’s health issues don’t just affect men’s lives, but those of their wives, sisters, mothers, extended family and friends
  3. move for Movember: sign up and take the Move challenge to get physically active and raise funds for men’s health, whether that’s running a marathon, rock climbing, or simply getting some mates together for a table tennis tournament
  4. donate directly to the Movember Foundation
  5. use Movember as an excuse to have a chat with a friend, a loved one, or the bloke standing next to you at the bar, about men’s health
  6. come up with a health plan—whether that means going to the gym, getting health insurance, or having that long overdue check-up at the doctor’s. Making a health plan will set some health goals for you to work towards.

Help further the conversation

One of the main problems surrounding men’s health is the stigma that speaking about health concerns, be they mental or physical, is a sign of weakness. It’s a relic leftover from yesteryear that seems to be hard for most men to shake from their psyche. The issue with this stigma is that it leaves a lot of men suffering in silence. By bringing men’s health issues out into the mainstream, Movember aims to dispel this stigma and get men talking.

Visit the Movember Australia website  to get involved and help men live happier, healthier, longer lives.

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