Since 2003, the Movember movement encourages men to grow mustaches during the month of November to raise awareness around multiple men’s health issues, including mental health and the startling rates of suicide in men. This month of health promotion looks at mental health through the male-identifying lens, highlighting prevention and early intervention— with the hopes of saving lives.
Due to the prevalent stigma and societal pressure to suppress perceived “weaknesses,” men are far less likely to seek mental health treatment than women. Statistics show that only 27% of men reach out for support for their mental health concerns, compared to 40% of women. The stigma often associated with men’s mental health is an extreme barrier to those needing treatment. Society’s negative attitudes towards men’s mental illnesses can include looking weak, being incompetent, or not being masculine enough. These attitudes may lead to embarrassment and shame when men seek support, leading to difficulty in expressing emotions, which can be harmful to their mental health.
Every day, one male adult commits suicide every minute, around the world. This mental health crisis is largely preventable through accessible mental health services, destigmatizing reaching out for help, and opening up discussion regarding mental health—an especially difficult topic for many men.
We acknowledge that everyone is different and that the issue of suicide is very complex. However, Movember recognizes that “improving overall mental health and helping men establish better social connections can reduce the risk of suicide.” We can prevent suicide through education and services designed with men in mind, creating an environment where men and boys feel comfortable to talk about big issues, finding support in communities, and advocating for all men. Since its inception, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men. Visit the Movember site to learn more.
If you or a loved one are experiencing feelings of depression or suicidal ideation, remember there are advocates waiting to help. To speak with someone immediately, contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 (available by call or text) or contact National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on 800-950-6264 or Text NAMI to 741741.