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Mental Health

The Movember Foundation: Why It Is Time to Speak Up

For the whole month of November, men are encouraged to grow out their moustaches without worrying too much about whether they will look like Borat or a failed attempt of a pre-teenager. Facial hair is not something men should be ashamed of. They can’t control its growth, yet a thick beard and a great pair of moustaches have always been features associated with masculinity and virility.

Movember‘ – the charity which launched this idea – seeks to challenge these stereotypes by inviting men to leave the razors be for a whole month and embrace the outcome, especially since it is for a good cause. Men’s mental health is a hidden page in the books of our society that needs to be unfolded and discussed at large. According to the Movember organisation, the lack of an open dialogue about men’s struggles – both physical and mental – is among the causes of why they often fear to speak out and ask for help. 

The charity has been funding many projects involving men’s health all around the globe, providing each country they work in with facts and evidence regarding this cause and, specifically, regarding the three major causes of death among men: mental health, prostate and testicular cancer. Everyone is invited to join in – whether you are willing to grow a moustache or simply donate money to the organisation, the project welcomes every individual. 

Rob, a 20-year-old student from London, explains, “November is a month for support to men, something that is not too popular these days due to the fact that toxic masculinity is still very much prevalent in our society.” He believes that raising awareness on this specific topic is essential as men’s health is often “overlooked and put aside.” He is currently growing out his moustache and directly donating money via the Movember website.

On the other hand, Ollie, who is 20 and based in Leeds, last year decided to help this cause by running 60 kilometres and successfully raising more than £550. He says that once he found out about Movember, he immediately felt very close to its purpose.

Both he and his older brother had experienced very hard moments in their lives and Ollie felt this specific project could not only raise awareness, but also help him in developing a better understanding of his feelings, and why they were valid. He explains, “When I looked it up and found out what the charity supports and how they support men in general, I felt like it was something I would like to do”.

He believes that men’s health is often represented in a bad manner and that sometimes it can be used as a pretext by men themselves to shift the attention from topics like the #MeToo movement and gender inequality. “Movember is not about that,” Ollie says.

Rather, it focuses on the other face of the same coin. It helps people acknowledge the fact that toxic masculinity is damaging for men, too, and this is something that strongly needs to change. And, who knows? Maybe the change can also start through a pair of scruffy moustaches. 

If you want to support Movember, please visit www.uk.movember.com to find out about their projects and how you can help.

Words by: Caterina Bertini

Edited by: Harsheni Maniarasan

I am a MA International Journalism student with the cutest bunny and a weird obsession over vanilla flavoured candles.
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