Each November, awareness toward men’s health is raised with the Movember campaign, a campaign in which people grow out their facial hair to raise money for various charities
Since its inception in 2004, Movember has spotlighted key issues affecting men including prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health.
“Movember exists to stop men dying too young,” wrote the Movember foundation last year.
“Our mission is to have an everlasting impact on men’s health and enable men to live longer, healthier and happier lives.”
Such an awareness campaign is important to highlight as statistics have shown that men can experience more difficulty with processing negative emotions than women.
Research suggests that men may be less able to recognise symptoms of their own mental health problems. It has also been shown that men may be more likely to turn to more harmful coping mechanisms such as drugs and alcohol than women, with men being found to be three times more likely to become alcohol-dependent than women, according to Men’s Health Forum.
While there has been no direct cause found for the disproportionate number of men being more likely to suffer from the more adverse effects of a mental health condition compared to women, the role of men in a society has been cited as some for influencing these statistics.
The mindset of men being the main ‘bread-winners’ and ‘go-getters’ of the family still linger among many in societies. Such a widely believed mindset can be detrimental to someone’s well-being, as they may constantly set themselves to standards that cannot be achieved.
It is very common for people to compare themselves to others, particularly with their livelihood and financial wellbeing. This has added to by social media, in which wealthy individuals are often heavily featured, flaunting the various flashy aspects of a wealthy lifestyle
In the digital age, one may encounter the affordances of wealth more usually than they would otherwise.
Some may believe that their entire manhood is defined by their capacity to earn a significant wage, so when being constantly subjected to and subconsciously comparing themselves to the relatively unattainable levels of wealth, they will feel down on themselves and question their self-worth.
Of course, this is just a generalisation. Mental health issues can arise from a combination of multiple complex and often inexplicable number of factors.
One in eight men will experience depression in their lifetimes, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Campaigns like Movember are very important to make these men aware that their feelings are not alien.
Last year, Movember raised 84.3 million euro for men’s health services; through both their own fundraisers and the ones individuals took on themselves. Supporting these services helps make them more accessible to the men who need them.
Reaching out can be hard. When something is on your mind for long enough, inertia can kick in. The thoughts of having these negative feelings exist on a plain outside of your own head can be frightening. Reaching out may feel like a leap of faith more so than a simple conversation.
The increase in awareness toward mental problems can make that leap of faith feel more like a step. Even by sharing a social media post highlighting the effects of mental health, you are increasing the chances that a vulnerable person may not feel so vulnerable. Mental illness is not something to be ridiculed or a demeaned, and campaigns like Movember help cement that fact.
It is always important to remember that the tunnel vision brought on by a sadness can make the pothole in front of you look like a chasm. It is through the time and effort you take to better yourself and adjust your awareness that enables you to cross that gap.
For anyone struggling with their mental health, services are available to you. Samaritans run a 24-hour free to call service, offering judgement-free aid and advice, available at (01) 671 0071. More information is available at https://www.samaritans.org
DCU offers free counselling sessions for all its students. More information is available at: dcu.ie/counselling
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