Sound the alarm people, we are at peak beard! It’s Movember—that time of year when our fellow brethren start growing their finest moustaches to build awareness, fundraise and support men’s mental and physical health issues.
For me, Movember has been an annual tradition since 2011. It’s a pretty fun/funny month, and a great reminder about all the good you can affect just by growing a (pretty terrible) moustache. For those who aren’t yet on the Mo bandwagon, you should know what you’re getting yourself in to. It’s a month of complaints about scratchy kisses and hugs from your family, finding lunch leftovers in your upper lip and being outright laughed at for the pathetic state of your handlebar moustache. See, fun!
Absurdity aside, the true goal of the campaign is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. That’s something I could not only get behind, but could put convention aside and grow a moustache for. In fact, I began Movembering after my uncle was diagnosed with prostate cancer—a sober reminder of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and regular health check-ups.
If you haven’t heard of Movember before, you’ve probably been really confused every November about the influx of moustaches that appear in all their twisted glory. Movember is a worldwide charity committed to seeing men live happier, healthier and longer lives. Since 2003, the group has been growing moustaches and raising funds in support of programs focused on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity. This year, the gauntlet has been thrown and men and women across the globe have been challenged to 30 MOVES in 30 DAYS—30 minutes of physical activity every day for the month of Movember.
Get MO Check-ups!
As a pharmacist, I know men are notoriously neglectful of their own health. The vast majority of us ignore medical advice and avoid any regular physical check-ups. I will sheepishly admit that without my wife’s encouragement I would not have an annual checkup let alone a regular physician. This is between us though—don’t tell her I said she was right.
Movember serves to raise awareness and funds to treat both prostate and testicular cancer—two dangerous and surprisingly common types of cancer among men. In fact, statistics tell us that one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and that testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young Canadian men aged 15 - 29 years. Don’t ignore the stats! Test yourself, get regular physical check-ups and encourage your MO bros to do the same—make Movember the month you check that off your list!
Be MO Aware!
Finally, Movember helps to remind us, regardless of our gender, to shake off time-worn stigma and recognize the importance of good mental health. We are not the strong silent men of yesteryear who must suppress our feelings to avoid looking weak in front of family or friends. Share how you feel and encourage others to do the same—you’ll be surprised at how good it feels!
And take a minute to check out the Movember partner, Heads Up Guys, for all you need to know about building an open dialogue for men’s mental health. With an average of seven men taking their lives through suicide each day in Canada, the importance of mental health awareness can’t be understated.
This isn’t rocket science, but you know you don’t have to be a man to care about men’s health, right? So, to all the MO sistas and MO bros out there—what are you waiting for? While it’s true that Movember has already kicked off, there’s still plenty of time to pull together a workplace activity or challenge, sign yourself up, ask for donations or donate yourself. Check http://www.movember.com/ for more information, ideas and tools than any moustache-lover can handle.
And you can thank me later for all the time and shaving cream you’ve saved.