Wednesday, December 13The Voice of London

Don’t shave; it’s Movember

We are only halfway through November, so there’s still time for you to join the tide and grow the moustache.

If you have been seeing a lot of ‘moustrachey’ men around, it is not a coincidence, there is a reason – a very important one.

If in October we were encouraged to ‘wear it pink’ to bring attention to breast cancer prevention, November – or shall we say Movember? – is the month dedicated to men. This is the time to raise awareness on men’s mental health as numbers show that men are dying surprisignly young.

The Movember movement puts a range of men’s health issues on the spotlight, from cancer to anxiety. And it uses the cute moustache to do so.

The campaign dates back to 2003, and now it has spread across the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. Fortunately, it has been growing year on year especially as celebrities and sportsmen adhere to the trend.

 

On average, men live six years less than women. The Movember Foundation aims to reduce male premature death in 25% by 2030.

The Silent Villain

With more than 40,000 new cases a year, prostate cancer kills nearly 11,000 men annually in the UK. Prostate Cancer UK warns this number could rise to 15,000 by 2026.

This type of cancer develops quietly, so it is not a surprise it is the fourth deadliest type of cancer in the country.

That is why prevention is key. Numbers from the Movember Foundations say that, if detected in an early stage, patients have 98% chance of survival.

Routine checkups are extremely important, particularly for men over 50, as they are part of the most vulnerable group.

infographic: Pamela Machado

We need to talk about the male brain

It is not difficult to understand why men are more susceptible to some illnesses than women. Men are more often than not victims of the social stigma that taking care of themselves would somehow hurt their reputation. This is causing emotional and psychological burden on men.

That is why another flagship of Movember is mental health.

Overall, experts claim that cases of the four most common mental health issues – anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders – have risen by 60% in Britain over the last decade. And men are the ones suffering the most, yet in silence.

The Mental Health Foundation stated that three quarters of suicide cases happen to men, making it the biggest cause of death for men under 45. On top of that, men are also three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependents.

Much of their internal struggle is caused by the pressure men feel that they need to be tough and not show emotions.

“Men think they need to present themselves as being independent and strong all the time. Sharing their feelings and fears with others will make them look vulnerable and weak,” says psychologist Andressa Trentin to the Voice of London.

“This need of being constantly ‘tough’ makes men close themselves inside their own minds and not tell others how they really feel, which makes them feel depressed and afraid of asking for help. “

Men should not hesitate to look for professional help as the situation gets progressively more unbearable, says Trentin. Yet, it is good to remember that it takes a lot less than we think to help get out of their struggle; very often it suffices we ask and listen without judgements.

 

Words: Pamela Machado | Subbing: Lotta Behrens

 

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