Why Movember is so important: Men need their mates

December 1, 2015

 

Whether you like the Mo or hate it…November means Movember…and for men this means growing the facial hair that has been so noticeable during the last month. Movember is a really important month of the year as it reminds us of the importance of men’s health and since 2003 the Movember Foundation has raised awareness of men’s health issues by committing to men living healthier, happier and longer lives.

Of particular concern is men’s mental health with the Movember Foundation looking to create a positive change in attitudes towards mental health and in particular provide funding to support men’s and boys’ mental health.

The Movember Foundation specifically provides funding to:

  1. Develop successful, scalable models to improve the mental health and wellbeing of men.
  2. Challenge the negative aspects of masculinity and the impact this can have on mental health.
  3. Encourage men to stay connected with friends and family.
  4. Bring conversations about mental health out of the health system (E.g. into sporting clubs or workplaces).

Encouraging men to stay connected with friends and family is really important and I think this is what Movember is really all about. Men generally like doing things, and in doing things men are able to have those conversations with others – which is so important for mental health. Whether it’s growing a mo, playing sport, going out, having a beer, watching sport or whatever…these activities/doing things leads to a sense of connectedness and belonging.

However, sadly for some men, the reality is that they don’t have any close friends, and this sense of isolation can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and suicide. This was highlighted in some recent articles I’ve read and emphasises the importance of men being able to spend time with their mates:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/mens-health/11996473/2.5-million-men-have-no-close-friends.html

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/millions-of-men-have-no-close-friends-20151116-gl03cp.html

This year, over three million Australians will experience depression or anxiety or both and today, seven Australians will die by suicide; five of them will be men.

So what can you do?

If you’re a male – get connected and focus on spending time with your mates and family.

If you have a male partner – encourage him to connect or re-connect with his mates…if this is something that has been neglected.

If you’re concerned about someone – Reaching Out is often the catalyst for that person starting on the road to recovery. However, having these chats can be daunting so luckily beyondblue has produced a guide on how to Have the Conversation, which has been funded in collaboration with the monies raised during Movember.
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/have-the-conversation
This guide explains how having a conversation can help people feel less alone and more supported in getting help for anxiety and depression, and what to do if the chat doesn’t go so well.

It’s better to put your hand up if you need help, or lend a hand if someone is struggling, than not to say anything at all because you’re not sure what to say. Depression and anxiety won’t get better without help – and if left undiagnosed and untreated, these conditions can become disabling.

If you have ongoing concerns about your own mental health or someone you know, it may be worthwhile to get some professional advice from a psychologist. At Attuned we offer both supportive counselling as well as psychotherapy… so contact us and start the conversation.

 

John Pertl

Psychologist

 

The following numbers provide 24 hour crisis support:

Kids Helpline    1800 551 800

Lifeline                131 114


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