When you think of November, it’s easy to write it off as the month between Halloween and Christmas when very little happens. But there’s plenty to enjoy and feel happy about in the eleventh month of the year!
There’s the autumn weather and crispy leaves.
The pre-Christmas planning and choosing that all-important advent calendar.
Not forgetting the amazing celebration that is Bonfire Night! You can guarantee that you’ll be seeing those sparkly sky displays most evenings during November.
But what about Movember?
Every year since 2003, people have fundraised for the charity ‘Movember’ –where fundraisers grow moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues.
It started on the other side of the world in Australia, when two friends met up for a drink, and the idea that sparked Movember was born. The moustache had disappeared from fashion trends. Could they bring it back? They found 30 men willing to take up the challenge. Fast forward 17 years later to 2020 and 6,538,699 people have taken part in the challenge all over the world!
So why is it important?
When it comes to their health, many men don’t talk, don’t take action and die too young.
What words come to your mind when you hear ‘being a man’
- ‘Take it like a man’
- ‘Man up!’
- ‘Stop acting like a girl’
- ‘Big boys don’t cry’
Have you heard them before? Where do they come from? How can they be hurtful to both males and females?
What the research tells us is;
- The average life expectancy for men in the UK is 3.5 years less than women. Globally, men die on average 5 years earlier than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable.
- Men have concerns about body image. In a recent survey, 51% of men said they wanted to look as athletic as sports stars, compared with 34.9% of women.
- In a survey, 67% of British men said that they were not open about
showing their emotions to others.
- Men are 20% less likely to go to the doctor than women.
- Men have a 14% higher risk of developing cancer than women
(and a 37% higher risk of dying from it). Testicular cancer is the
most common cancer for boys and young men.
- 33% of English men admitted to not getting the recommended
5 hours of moderate exercise a week.
The people behind Movember want to create a world where men and boys take action to be mentally healthy and well and are supported by their friends, family, and community during tough times.
So, what can men do to stay mentally healthy?
- Spend time with people who make you feel good. Stay connected. Your friends and family are important and spending time with them is good for you. Catch up regularly, check in with your friends, and make time.
- Talk, more. We don’t always have all the answers to our friend’s problems. But by supporting someone, listening, and giving your time, this could help boys and men find ways to talk about the ‘big stuff’ in life, like family issues, first romantic relationships, exam pressure and personal health – it could even be lifesaving. Challenge the idea that men talking or showing emotion is ‘weak’, and that being strong is the only way to be ‘manly’.
- Move, more. Add more activity to your day. Do more of what makes you feel good. Take the stairs. Cycle instead of driving. The idea of exercise can be scary to some people, so pick an activity you enjoy – anything that gets you moving and your heart pumping! – and give it a go. You could even get your friends involved to make it more fun.
Written by: Emma Marshall student school Nurse
Need more Information?
The national websites below provide further information and guidance , or a space to talk confidentially. They may also be able to direct you to more local sources of support. You can always speak to your school nurse via Chat health page
- visit the NHS website for more information on testicular cancer
- visit the Testicular Cancer Network for more information on testicular cancer
- Childline are able to give advise on various issues
- The Samaritans
- for support with mental health visit Movember/mental health website
- for support with starting conversations about your health visit the Movember website