Building a support system during Men’s Health Awareness Month
Yesterday we told you about the health concerns being highlighted during Men's Health Awareness Month, today we learn more about what both men and women can do to show support for the men battling cancer or a mental health disorder.
Growing a mustache or beard is fun, but the symbolism behind it is what this month is all about.
Movember Community Development Manager Keith Sexton says it's to raise awareness and build a support system for men battling cancer, a mental health illness or something else.
"Most men aren't doing anything about their health, they're not taking action, they're not talking about anything and they're dying too young. On average, men die about six-years younger than women and it's really mostly from preventable causes," Sexton said.
Sexton says three out of every four suicides are men taking their own lives.
"We're losing one man a minute across the globe," Sexton said.
Growing a mustache or a beard is the most popular way to show support for men battling cancer or a mental health issue, but not everyone can do so.
Sexton says there are other ways both men and women can support the cause.
"We have a challenge called the moo challenge which is all about running or walking 60-miles throughout the month of November which represents the 60-men that take their own lives every hour," Sexton said.
Sexton says you could also host an event like breakfast at work, a pot-luck dinner or even a corn hole tournament, all great ways, he says, to support the cause and get involved.
Another one of those ways to show support is to be a listening ear.
"For men, it's all about opening up a little bit and seeking that help when it's needed," Sexton said. "When it comes to mental health, if you are feeling down and having some issues talk it out with a trusted friend. For everyone else, if you notice a man in your life that might need some help be open to listening to him and hearing him out. You don't need to solve the problem you just have to be there and listen to him and that could mean the world to somebody and make a huge difference in someone's life."
There is this fear or macho-man attitude many men have about getting checked by a doctor for cancer, a mental health disorder or something minor in comparison.
"When it comes to prostate and testicular cancer, they're actually very curable if they're caught early enough and so we really want to encourage men to make sure they are checking themselves or going to the doctor for that," Sexton said.
With mental health, it's about being there and encouraging someone going through a rough patch to talk about it.
"It's trying to get rid of that stigma that men can't be vulnerable and can't express their feelings and talk to somebody," Sexton said.
He said talking about your feelings takes more courage but helps more than burying them deep within.
Movember is a separate movement and organization than No-Shave November but both raise awareness about the causes on display this month.
"The Movember Foundation is the leading charity dedicated to changing the face of men's health in the U.S. and around the world," Sexton said. "We really want men to live happier, healthier longer lives and we're doing that by investing in three critical areas which are prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention."
Here is a video of my November 2017 'no shave' journey to help raise awareness about men's cancers and mental health disorders in hopes I could play even a small role in supporting men who fear the battle ahead or need a friend from afar.