Since 2003, Movember has been advocating for men to grow mustaches throughout November to raise awareness about various men’s health concerns, including mental health and the alarming rates of male suicides. This dedicated month for health advocacy focuses on understanding mental health from a male perspective, emphasizing the importance of prevention and early intervention.
Statistics concerning men’s mental health paint a sobering picture. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), males die by suicide three to four times more often than do females and. The disproportionality is further heightened when looking at those over the age of 65. In numerous countries, men are less likely to access mental health services, which further impacts their overall well-being.
One of Movember’s fundamental objectives is to urge men to engage in open discussions about mental health. By fostering dialogue and encouraging men to share their experiences, Movember plays a crucial role in dismantling the barriers that prevent men from seeking help.
Starting conversations with men who are struggling may seem daunting. However, getting them to open up can be easier with practice. Movember.com has some helpful tips to help you start, including the A.L.E.C conversation model. A.L.E.C. is four simple steps to help you navigate a conversation with a friend who might be struggling.
Learn how to use this simple, proven, and helpful guide to reach out to a man who’s going through tough times below.
Start by asking how he’s feeling. It’s worth mentioning any changes you’ve picked up on.
Use a prompt like, “You haven’t seemed yourself lately – are you feeling OK?”
Trust your instinct. Remember, people often say “I’m fine” when they’re not, so don’t be afraid to ask twice.
You can use something specific you’ve noticed, such as, “It’s just that you haven’t been replying to my texts, and that’s not like you.”
Give him your full attention. Let him know you’re hearing what he’s saying and you’re not judging. Asking questions lets him know you’re listening.
Ask a question like,
“That can’t be easy – how long have you felt this way?”
Help him focus on simple things that might improve how he feels. Is he getting enough sleep? Is he exercising and eating well? Maybe there’s something that’s helped him in the past?
Suggest that he share how he’s feeling with others he trusts. This will make things easier for both of you.
Suggest you catch up soon – in person if you can. This helps to show that you care; plus, you’ll get a feel for whether he’s feeling any better.
It’s not always easy starting a conversation with a friend about relationship issues, job loss, fatherhood-related anxiety, financial stress, or mental health issues but it may be life-saving. Initiating open conversations with our friends and loved ones is vital in nurturing mental wellness. We hope you find these tools useful not only during Movember but all year long!