It’s that time of the year again: Somewhere after Halloween, before the Christmas trees going up with the clocks going back in the middle. MOVEMBER when men are seen sporting a “MO” (short for moustache) as part of some fancy facial hair brotherhood…all in the name of Charity.
AT BWW we are right on that bandwagon at cheering on this awareness with four key focus areas.
• Prostate cancer
• Testicular cancer
• Physical inactivity, and
• Mental health issues
Mental health is a prominent culprit that can affect anyone at any time, but men may find it more difficult to address mental health issues than women – whether by confiding in their loved ones or by seeking medical help due to the stigma surrounding masculinity.
This outdated stigma around men and mental health has long been a barrier to seeking treatment. Our boys grow up to be men with an imprinted ideal of adhering to the ‘strong and silent’ version that’s deemed admirable by society.
The fear that mental health problems are a sign of weakness may prevent men from addressing their issues before they reach a crisis point.
The state of men’s health is in crisis and has been for some time. Let’s look at some of the facts:
Men experience worse longer-term health than women and die on average six years earlier. Prostate cancer rates – the most common cancer in UK men – will double in the next 15 years, while testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50. Three-quarters of suicides are men. Poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year. That’s one every minute.
We caught up with “LET’S GET MEN TALKING” an independent year-round charity that gathers testimonials from men and acts as a platform to get rid of the shackles surrounding “being a man”.
This ever so cool bunch is changing the narrative surrounding masculinity and enable open conversation surrounding men’s mental health.
If you or someone you know can’t seem to shift feeling not great or you’re feeling overwhelmed about life, take action. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1) Talk to someone you trust, especially when things are tough. Let’s get Men Talking has lots of great testimonials on their website and social channels that you could perhaps relate to and learn from.
2) Get moving. Exercise does great things to your body and mind. WE CAN HELP, from group classes, lifting weights or having a swim get those endorphins going!
3) Take a break – you don’t need to solve every challenge today, so give yourself some downtime. Remember, “it is ok not be ok” all the time boys.
4) Get out and do something you enjoy with a friend.
5) If you’ve tried some of these things and still feel bad then talk to a professional for advice and support. The NHS has dedicated channels for mental health support, you are not alone.
“Let’s get me talking” believes that taking the first step is the biggest challenge, but once this barrier is smashed it opens up endless possibilities of help and support.
“A lot of men feel that they need to protect the people around them, their family and friends. They can’t bear the idea that other people may get upset because you are struggling. This idea can be heart-breaking but the fact is that by seeking help and support from professionals, you are taking the first step to getting back on track to becoming the person that you want to be.”
Let’s stay vigilant in our aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides annual check-ups, men should be encouraged to be aware of their family history of cancer and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
At BWW we pledge to be unified, not just for Movember, but ongoing to encourage men of all ages to get involved, stay active and make positive life changes.