The power of the moustache…
Blog by Claire Vincent, Project Coordinator, Communities Against Cancer
So in recent years I have found myself asking – How does growing a moustache in November actually help men’s health?
As 2019 is rapidly disappearing, we find ourselves in Movember – the time of year where men have the permission to grow a moustache however silly it looks, and actually the sillier, the better (a favourite of my husband’s is the handlebar – not wanting to offend any men who regularly have the handlebar as their moustache of choice!).
Movember originated in Australia in 2003 with a group of friends wanting to bring the moustache back to popularity. Since then the Movember movement has grown across the globe and is now a vehicle of awareness for men’s health and raises money for men’s health projects. But why is this needed for men’s health? Well according to Movember UK, incidences of prostate & testicular cancer are rising and men die on average six years earlier than women. The awareness month also highlights men’s mental health struggles and increasingly high suicide levels .
These are sobering statistics and got me thinking about how important Movember actually is in raising our awareness and getting us talking about men’s health.
So what can help men improve their health and wellbeing?
It would be easy to think that men don’t look after themselves, hate going to the GP and don’t talk about their physical or mental health enough. But are these fair assumptions as to why their health may suffer or are these just out of date stereotypes? Should these assumptions form the basis of our solutions to help them? Well as with anything, everyone is different and it is about knowing your audience – the man in your life. As his partner, sister, father, friend, work colleague etc., you will know how to approach him best. You know what works and what doesn’t work. So take a minute to think about any struggles or barriers he may be facing today to being well, and what may help him. This could be physical or mental challenges he may be struggling with right now.
Returning to my husband with the handlebar moustache – perhaps it was a good way for him to express himself. And at the risk of over sharing here, he actually thought he rocked that look and it brought him lots of joy! I loved that Movember gave him permission to do that. Don’t get me wrong, i’ll be very pleased with the arrival of Advent!
So what will allow the man in your life to express himself, share his concerns, talk about his health worries and be able to open up?
Is it a chat, the persistent attention (some call it nagging), maybe just noticing something is not quite right with him. Perhaps its taking time out or seeking help and booking that GP appointment and going along too. Whatever will help, use this Movember as a reminder to support him to talk about his health and help him focus on what keeps him well.
Communities Against Cancer is a project to reach those who may not have previously fully understood or have felt unable to act upon public health advice in regards to cancer awareness and prevention. We are running a small grants programme offering up to £700 to help you increase your group or community’s awareness and knowledge about cancer. We will cover all (or part) of the costs of activities that can help you to achieve this goal.