As November starts, many men participate in a worldwide phenomenon called Movember. The story behind Movember is a rather interesting one and the meaning of it has changed over the years. Movember started out as a way to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer, but has since evolved to include mental and overall physical health as well.
Movember was started in Australia, by Adam Garone in the most Australian way possible. He and his friend were in his garage, drinking beers, and wanting a reason to grow a mustache – they were looking to bring back the mustache. So, they decided to pick a month where they just grew mustaches, and at the end throw a party.
They then decided to make it a larger event and involve men’s charity, and with hard work and dedication, Adam managed to make this one small event between friends into a worldwide event.
In Canada, an average of 12 people commit suicide every day, and men are 3x more likely to commit. Statistically, men tend to have a harder time explaining difficult emotions and the problems they face, and as a result, their feelings often go unheard, most of the time they go unspoken. This leaves men feeling mislabeled or misunderstood, causing them to discontinue services.
– data by Strike, Rhodes, Bergmans, and Links
Many attribute this reluctance to express emotions to social expectations; men are expected to be strong and non-emotional in order to be protectors and be productive in society. This perpetuates a cycle of self-hatred and guilt among many men, which can lead to isolation and shutting down. When men are then ostracized for being robotic and non-emotional, the cycle continues.
This is why Movember has changed to include mental health and suicide prevention, and why it’s so important. Men suffer in silence and often, this leads to feelings of self-doubt and guilt, which can lead to depression and suicide. The number of men committing suicide around the world are staggering and this systemic issue needs to be addressed.
So grow a mustache, support the men in your life, show that you are willing to stand up against the stigma, and show the world that you are a Mo-Bro.
By Eric Atkinson
Intake Coordinator, Roots in Wellness
Social Service Worker Student