At its peak, my moustache resembled a cross between a 70s porn star and Fu Manchu. Not necessarily a bad combination yet it itched and I could not resist stroking it like a Bond villain. This is my seventh year as a Mo Bro, essentially the seventh time I have spent November growing a moustache to raise funds and awareness of men’s health. I may look ridiculous, the effect may be off-putting and I don’t care as it is such a worthy cause.
So far over 1,200 projects have been launched for the benefit of men’s health which includes vital funding for prostate and testicular cancer. However, men’s health is not just physical and of great personal interest is their research into mental health and suicide prevention. Considering that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and in the past year have firsthand knowledge of the pitfalls from depression and anxiety, it needs to be said that men have to talk. Recently, public awareness has improved regarding the need to get mental health out into the open. This includes some thoughtfully made, thought provoking TV adverts and a plethora of academic studies as well as column inches. There is still work to be done.
Research conducted by the Movember Foundation is both staggering and alarming. Just in the UK;
One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
Three out of four suicides are men.
That last statistic really jumped out at me. Men seem adept at holding in their emotions amid an effort to keep it together but to what end? To impress the opposite sex? To keep in line with what their father told them how to act? Whatever the reasons may be, such reluctance appears flawed, even tragic.
Thankfully, the taboo surrounding mental health is being lifted and men are starting to make their feelings known. On another personal note I can vouch for discussing emotional well-being to close friends and family to open up and let people know what’s going on. Support can be sought from those individuals as well as professional help in the form of therapy. The suffering can only be prolonged if left to manifest and though it takes courage and bravery to tell people, the pros far outweigh the cons.
My own personal effort in growing a moustache has presented me with an insider account of the benefits of tackling men’s health head on. Sure, the fuzz around my upper lip has meant bus drivers and bar staff have to stifle a laugh. The Half Mo Mast provoked one snide comment, one bemused conversion and several confused glances at The Good Food Show yet I have been quick to point to my 5 Year Mo Bro badge to explain that it’s for charidee. If growing an itchy, embarrassing moustache then shaving half of it off for a day means that more men talk, and even raises money to help the cause, then I’ve done my bit.
If you know someone who’s doing Movember then please donate what you can and search for their fundraising page at https://uk.movember.com/mospace/
If you’d like to donate to myself then you can at https://mobro.co/omarsoliman