For the next four weeks, November is officially known to my girlfriend as the month where she doesn't want to kiss me because of my disgusting moustache and where men worldwide pride themselves on who can grow the most hideous furry top lip known to man aka "Movember".
Now for those who don't know what Movember is (what rock have you been hiding under?), it is a worldwide annual campaign that raises awareness for men's health. Simply put, the month usually challenges males and females to grow facial/body hair for four weeks to build funds towards helping combat numerous health related issues surrounding the rapid decline of men's health and well being. This global event over the last 14 years has helped raise over 490 million in the UK or $1 billion in New Zealand. In 2016, the UK alone made 6.9 million and NZ contributed $1.4 million, which is an amazing achievement and something that is truly remarkable.
The charity is setting some impressive long-term goals by attempting to half the life expectancy gap between men and women and reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 2030. How they want to do this is to look at bringing more attention to preventable medicine techniques, to be proactive and look after ourselves better. The five main areas Movember focuses on are:
• Make man time - Yes, having a bromance or going out with mates can really help improve your health. So, the next time your partner or wife complains about you hanging out with the boys just say it's for your health!!!
• Have open conversations - Something men tend to be rubbish at, the mental health figures confirm that. Us men need to gain more emotional intelligence by talking about difficult topics opening up when times are difficult.
• Know the numbers - Depending on your age, race and your environment, you might be more susceptible to certain illnesses or cancers. Doing some research or having a chat with a doctor or another health professional could put your mind at ease or save your life.
• Know thy nuts - Simple really, get used to checking your testicles on a regular basis or get your significant over to do, if you know what I mean.
• Move more - Get up from the couch and move, it doesn't have to be going to the gym if could be as simple as a walk, cycling, playing sports with your mates, and sex counts as movement.
Earlier in the year I wrote an article https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ben-edusei/mens-health-awareness-mon_b_16949258.html helping to bring awareness to Men's Health Month (June) and the reason remains the same to why I want to continue sending this message. The state of men's health is really at a crisis point, not only are men suffering from health-related issues at an earlier age they are also dying younger. If men continue down this path expect figure like:
• Prostate cancer rates will double in next 15 years
• Testicular cancer has already doubled in 50 years and will continue to rise
• More 500,000 take they own life every year (that's one per minute)
Personally, this year has been difficult as I lost another important male figure in my life who was only 58 years old, and it was the 5-year anniversary of my father who was only 53 at the time he passed away, unfortunately these stories are becoming way too common and it's heart breaking to endure. The old school philosophy that ignoring symptoms is what men do, that doctors and pills are the answers or that suffering in silence is the bloke thing to do is outdated and quite frankly stupid. It's time for us men to make our health a priority and learn how to look after ourselves.
This year I will be helping this truly magnificent cause by offering free health consultations for men via Skype. In Wellington NZ (where I live) I will also be putting on free group session classes every Saturday morning to get men moving more, talking and educating blokes to take more control over their health. If this is something you are interested in please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no good reason why millions of men should be suffering like this so it's time for men to do something about it.
For more information about Movember check out their website:
UK edition https://uk.movember.com/
Nz edition https://nz.movember.com/