Every year, for one month, perfectly normal men across the globe, begin obsessively competing to grow the wildest, bushiest facial hair they can muster in 28 days to raise money for charity. But there's more to Movember than championing a new 'tache to show off on Facebook.
Movember started in Australia 13 years ago when a group of friends decided to revive the (then deeply unfashionable) idea of the moustache. They were so blown away by the response that the following year they made ‘Grow a Mo’ a charity campaign in a bid to change the face of men’s health.
Today, Movember operates in 21 countries with £443 million pounds raised so far and £41 million raised last year alone!
This November, organizers are reaching out to women too. “Movember is about spreading the word to your brothers, dads boyfriends and husbands so we can raise awareness on the 3 biggest male killers – prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide.” says Global Director Sarah Coghlan. “We’re funding 1200 projects around the world, and breaking stigmas along the way.”
With days to go till the madness kicks off and your Social media feeds become awash with so called ‘Mo Brothers’ showcasing their man-hair, here are 6 reasons why the guys in your life really need to get listen up this year.
- 13 men a day, every day, take their own lives in the UK
Yes its pretty shocking isn’t it. And that’s not all. Men make up 78% of suicides that occur making suicide the biggest killer of men under 35. That’s more than car accidents, drugs or anything else. Sadly its not just a young man’s disease either; suicide is the largest killer of middle aged men too so spread the word to your and uncles, not just your husbands and boyfriends. Talking, listening and being there for someone who is struggling with stress, anxiety or depression can save their life.
- Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men under 45
Most men never think to bother but it’s vital that they ‘get to know their nuts’. Knowledge is power. Men should be checking their testicles, once a month, know what feels normal and go to the doctor if they notice any change in shape or size. Things to watch out for are any swelling, lumps, any pain on touching, or testicles feeling heavier than usual. Testicular cancer is a highly treatable disease if caught early, so it’s important to know the risks and check for it.
- Men need movement
If the only movement he’s doing is between desk and sofa, he’s in trouble. Regular physical activity every day is even more critical for men. Today, 75 per cent of premature deaths from coronary heart disease are male while two thirds of men are overweight or obese. Men are more likely to smoke more and drink at hazardous levels than women and middle-aged men are twice as likely to have diabetes as women. 30 minutes a day is all it takes.
- ‘Man time’ saves lives.
Yes, really! Time with his friends is actually vital for his mental health. Whether it’s a weekly football club or Friday nights at the pub, men need to spend time in the company of other men, which has actually been shown to boost testosterone levels, essential for physical health and sex drive, as well as mental wellbeing. Get him to make man-time a regular habit and remember its good for both of you in the long run.
- Prostates need checking
One man dies every hour from prostate cancer and this is set to double in the next 15 years. Don’t let your dad be one of them. If you know a man over 50, tell him to talk to his doctor about a PSA test. If his dad or brother has been affected, he needs to have this conversation at 45. If detected early, men have a 98 per cent of survival beyond five years. On late detection this drops dramatically to 26 per cent.
- The facts speak for themselves
Men like to think of themselves as invincible but occasionally they need reminding that the general health of boys and men lags significantly behind that girls and women. Did you know that one in 5 UK men don’t even reach the age of 65? That’s pretty bad in a rich developed country like ours. In the UK, men die four years younger than women for largely preventable reasons. That equates to 70,000 preventable male deaths a year in the UK alone. Most men put off going to the doctor if they feel ill, convinced that it’s a sign of weakness, but together we can help the men we love develop a healthier attitude towards their health, to ensure they live healthier, happier, longer lives.
Get involved by ‘Growing a Mo’, ‘Taking a Move challenge’ or ‘Hosting an event’.
Visit Movember for details and share this article with a man you love.