By Celeste Castleberry, Year 12
November and the mustache. Together they make Movember, a month devoted to raising awareness of male health problems, such as testicular and prostate cancer. Each year at La Chât, November becomes Movember and students get together to raise money for the cause.
The Movember foundation started fifteen years ago and has been expanding since then. In 2003, Australia’s Travis Garone and Luke Slattery met at a pub and joked about bringing the mustache back from the past. They started off by talking to their friends about their idea. Influenced by a breast cancer fundraiser started in their community, the two men chose to make their Movember not only about the mustache or ‘Mo’, but about men’s mental health as well as testicular and prostate cancer. They created the rules, and each man had to donate 10 dollars to officially grow a Mo.
Once they had everything in place, they found 30 friends willing to participate in the challenge. They became known as the first of many Mo Bros. In the 2004 Movember campaign, 450 Mo bros raised $54,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), making history as the biggest single donation to the cause. Over the following year, Movember went international, with Spain and the UK joining to spread awareness.
The Movember Foundation has brought the issue of men’s mental health out of the shadows and is educating the world on the pressing issue of men’s suicide. All humans, regardless of gender, should be aware of the stigma surrounding men discussing their emotions, especially with other men. It is still seen as ‘uncool’ or ‘weird’ for men to talk about their problems, mentally and physically. Today’s stereotypical forms of masculinity are literally killing men. This stigma needs to end.
Guys these days need to be able to have a deep, emotional conversation whether it be with their friends at the pub, or with their mom at the dinner table. Some people might not feel comfortable reaching out for help; if you think your friend looks sad or may be depressed, try make the first move.
One of Movember’s main missions is to “bring conversations about mental health out of the health system,” meaning that men’s mental health needs to be discussed in schools, in the workplace, and more. Movember invests in mental health initiatives globally, which allow for the conduction of research and analysis of mental health in men and boys throughout the country. After analyzing the data, they find ways to apply the research and improve mental health in order to make a big impact.
They have even started an initiative called NewAccess, a new trial program created to encourage men in taking action with their mental health. They can do so by accessing the NewAccess coaches who are available to help in their local communities in Australia. This initiative serves as a step before calling a suicide prevention line, giving men an outlet for their feelings and advice from professionals without having to go to a therapist.
When you think of cancer you probably wouldn’t know that testicular cancer is the second most common cancer in young men across the globe! In fact, it kills five percent of men who have it. During Movember, we teach men to be aware that it can go unnoticed and advise that when they go to the doctors for a checkup, they should ask to be examined for testicular cancer. Movember also raises awareness for prostate cancer. 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. The Movember Foundation is deepening worldwide knowledge of prostate cancer as well as educating men on how and when to take action before or after the fact.
This November at La Chât, the Movember crew will be educating our peers about what Movember is and how you can get involved in raising awareness. We will be hosting a bake sale on November 30, and selling mustaches throughout the month to raise money for the cause.
There will also be a mustache growing competition with a prize for the best ‘Mo’. Though the competition is typically for guys, girls and those who don’t want to grow a Mo have the opportunity to buy stick-on mustaches at lunch or break.
If you want to participate in the competition, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can document your progress over the Movember with photographs.