Movember grows mental health awareness

by | Nov 1, 2012 | News

It’s time to grow your best looking ‘stache to raise awareness of men’s health issues. PHOTO BY SARAH MACDONALD


By Sarah MacDonald

November is about to get pretty hairy.

Beginning today and running all month, men of all types will grow facial hair to bring awareness to male health issues – this year Movember is about more than just prostate cancer.

“Often men with prostate cancer are significantly more likely to have mental health issues like depression and anxiety so they go hand in hand,” Michael Braiden, community outreach representative for Movember, told Humber News.

“We’re basically at the point that we have enough money and can support two initiatives.”

Men are three-to-four times more likely than women to commit suicide despite the lower reported rates of depression among men in Canada, according to a Movember Canada press release.

“There’s sort of a stigma surrounding men’s health, you know, women are far more likely to go and seek help,” said Braiden. “It’s just being a man. Whether you are playing through injuries or not letting people know something is wrong is the biggest thing and that’s why we push this awareness, to change that.”

Getting men to talk about the subject is not easy.“Men are stubborn about their health,” said Braiden.  Through a facade of light-heartedness, however, Movember aims to promote  discussion among men of varying ages,  he said.

“Prostate cancer was known as an old man’s disease and certainly wasn’t talked about much in the past few years,” Rebecca von Goetz, executive vice president of Prostate Cancer Canada,  told Humber News.

“That certainly has had a big impact on getting education on prostate cancer risks out to the Canadian male population.”

Still, the movement is growing, and not just on a man’s face.

“I take it more seriously,” said Ryan Andre, 19, a Humber business management student. “I’m more aware of what I do and how I treat my body so I can live a longer life.”

Von Goetz says with that attitude,  young men today will be better armed to face the future. “These twenty-somethings, when they are in their forties, they are going know about this and they will have that conversation with their doctor.”