Guest blog: Movember Foundation – Men’s mental health

Global Cause Marketing Director at the Movember Foundation
02 November 2017

When it comes to our health, we tend to know what to do when we come down with something like a cold or flu.

We’ve learnt from experience to take some time to rest, drink more fluids, avoid the alcohol and perhaps aim to get a little extra sleep. And if the symptoms that are making us feel rubbish just won’t go away, we’ll visit the doctor.

The point is, we know what to do to get back to “normal” and give ourselves the best chance to feel better.

Friends, family, and colleagues will want to help us feel better too. The proverbial tea and sympathy, and perhaps a little extra space and time to feel well again, helps us get there.

A man looking thoughtful

What about mental health?

But we’re still a long way from that situation when it comes to our mental health.

When things are tough or we’re struggling with a mental health problem it can be truly debilitating, (and often lasts much longer than a cold or flu bug). And yet – right now – it tends to feel so much harder to share it with those around us and seek help, even from a doctor.

Many people don’t quite know how to express or explain what they’re going through, or how to put it into context for someone else to understand. And it’s very likely they’ll have concerns about what they’re going through and how it will be perceived by others too.

A common problem

In the UK, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. That’s millions of people across the country, which makes this incredibly, and tragically, common.

It’s a surprise to many to hear this, largely because there’s still such a stigma attached to mental health – talking about it, or admitting you’re struggling. So the scale of the problem is not widely recognised.

Men’s mental health

When it comes to men’s health specifically – which is the core focus of the Movember Foundation – we recognise this as a contributory factor to other shocking statistics too. For example, the fact that 78 per cent of suicides are men, and that 13 men are taking their lives in the UK, every single day.

The truth is that too many men are suffering in silence. Rather than speaking out, many labour under outmoded stereotypes of masculinity which dictate that real men:

  • don’t talk about their feelings
  • should show no vulnerability
  • should grit their teeth and get on with things

But taking action by talking about their challenges is so often the first step to finding a way through them.

Speak Up

Talking about the difficult stuff – the important stuff – can be really hard but if we can change the conversation at an individual level, we can start to change it at a wider level too. This is so important. We can begin to break down the negative stigma surrounding mental health, which is still all too pervasive and destructive. We can all play a part in that.

While it’s not always easy to know how a man is really feeling, if you ask the question and make it clear that you’re really there to listen you can begin truly life-changing conversations.

That’s why, this September, the Movember Foundation launched a campaign to encourage those with a man in their lives; brother, father, uncle, grandfather, boyfriend, husband or son, to ask him if he’s doing ok, and to make sure that they really listen to the response.

It’s just part of the Movember Foundation’s drive to get the people who support men to have better, more meaningful conversations with them, in just four simple steps.

  1. Ask how they are doing.
  2. Listen without judgement.
  3. Encourage action.
  4. Check in regularly.

The truth is that at the moment the networks around men don’t reach out enough to ask how guys are really doing.

But we can all play a part in reducing the rate of male suicide by sparking a potentially life-changing conversation – the first step is simple: just ask.

Support a man in your life

Another way to show the men in your life that you care about them is to sign up at Movember.com and participate in the campaign this Movember. You can choose to grow a moustache, take on the Move challenge, host an event, or simply donate to Movember to support the work of the charity.

Get involved

If you’re keen to find out more about how to participate in this year’s campaign please contact go to www.Movember.com to find out more, donate or participate.

About the Movember Foundation

The Movember Foundation is the only global charity focused solely on men’s health, funding over 1,200 innovative projects across 21 countries.

 Go to Movember.com to find out more, donate or participate.

Paul Mitcheson
Global Cause Marketing Director at the Movember Foundation

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