Growing facial hair and playing a board game may be the most masculine way of tackling men’s health this month.
As Movember launches its annual month-long campaign this Sunday 1 November, those who can will be asked to ignore the itch and rally in support of men’s mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.
Now in its 17th year, Movember Australia is challenging the community to sign up as a Mo Bro and grow a moustache (a “mo”), or show support for men’s health as a Mo Sista.
‘Mo your own way’ will also see participants ‘Move for Movember’ and ‘Host a Mo-ment’.
Movember’s Australia Country Director Rachel Carr said it was pertinent that men’s issues weren’t ignored, particularly this year.
“If there’s ever been a time to embrace Movember and shed those lockdown beards, it’s now, in 2020,” she said.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult year for men, which makes this year’s campaign our most important yet.
“Research conducted by Movember shows us the effects of the pandemic on men’s mental health, in particular, is concerning, and is still far from over.
“Job losses, relationship stresses and social isolation are taking a toll.
“We’ve been working hard to fast-track digital mental health resources to address the need.
“Every donation, no matter how small, adds up. Signing up for Mo-season is also a great way to stay connected within your own social circles – it’s been shown that supporting others can improve your own wellbeing.
“With the help of our community, Movember will continue funding and applying research to prevent our fathers, brothers, partners, sons and friends from dying prematurely.”
Movember is a global charity raising funds to deliver innovative research and support programs that enable men to live happier, healthier, and longer lives.
Since its inception in 2003, it has helped fund 1,250 global projects, focusing on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Movember’s Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Brendan Maher, added that, in Australia, calls to Lifeline increased by 25% when physical distancing kicked in.
“Not surprisingly, our research confirmed that the impact of COVID-19 has hit men pretty hard, in Australia and globally,” he said.
“The statistics show us men are anxious and uncertain about the future.
“Many guys are isolated and disconnected from their usual social support networks – and the places where men usually go to have those shoulder-to-shoulder conversations with their mates, like going out for a drink or a bite to eat, watching or playing sport, or going to the gym, have been severely reduced.
“We know men aren’t great at asking for or seeking help at the best of times, so we need to do as much as we can to buffer some of the problems they’re facing, now.”
Movember’s 2020 initiatives include the implementation of digital mental health tools and mental health grants for Veterans and First Responders.
This year’s campaign also coincides with the launch of a Movember-themed Monopoly board game.
The moustache-themed makeover reinterprets the classic Monopoly board replacing streets and properties with barber shops, men’s health programs and a range of moustaches.
The collectible tokens have been replaced with a barber chair, motorcycle helmet, sneakers, skateboard, a guitar pick and panel van.
Visit the Movember website for more information.