Movember 2023: Men’s mental health awareness month

November marks the beginning of men’s mental health awareness month, where men across the globe are encouraged to grow a moustache to show their support for the cause.

Founded in Australia in 2003, movember has become a global phenomenon, spanning over 20 countries to raise awareness and funds for men’s mental health. Arguably, this year is more important than ever for people to participate in the campaign, as people’s mental health has spiralled due to the continuing cost-of-living crisis.

man mini figure

According to the latest statistics from The Priory Group, a leading independent provider of mental health support, 35.2% of men think they had a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their life, a fifth of men (19.5%) have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, and back in 2020, three-quarters of registered suicide deaths in the UK were for men alone.

In addition, research from the organisation in 2022 found 40% of men will also refuse to discuss their mental health due to the outdated idea that men ‘can’t show emotion’. Alarmingly, experts discovered that for 40% of men it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm to compel them to seek professional help.  

However, as well as the campaign raising awareness around mental health, the annual event also works to address health issues men face, such as prostate cancer, which is the second most common form of cancer in men, and testicular cancer. Throughout the month, men are heavily encouraged to get regular check-ups and educate themselves on the risk factors associate with the two diseases.

Despite testicular cancer being quite rare, it can appear more commonly in younger men, which is why the yearly campaign also works to practice early prevention techniques.

Against this backdrop, NHS employers have pulled together a series of resources to help support workforces and raise awareness for the campaign, which has previously funded more than 1,300 men’s health projects globally.

Last year, Michael Reeve, the CEO of the Association of Foreign Property Owners in Portugal (afpop), took part in movember and has since shed light on his experience.

Speaking to the Portugal Resident, Michael said: ‘I woke up on the 1st November and was about to shave and, for some reason, I decided to leave the top lip and see what I could grow before the end of the month. Any opportunity I got after that I just said, ‘it’s Movember mate’, and left it at that.

‘Sadly, my own effort at growing a ‘Mo’ was pretty poor if I’m honest, and I’m not expecting this year’s effort to be any better, but the idea isn’t to grow the greatest ‘tache ever, it’s to raise awareness of the associated concerns. Perhaps having a rubbish ‘tache made that even easier because it was funny as well as serious.’

Image: Alan Hardman

More on this topic:

Mental health support is ‘paramount’: government to offer thousands to expand services

Children under five are facing lifelong mental health conditions


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