Men’s Mental Health Challenges and the Movember Movement

In a world that encourages men to be strong, discussing the stigma around men's mental health becomes crucial. Have you heard of "Movember" and "No-Shave November"? These special movements focus on information about men's health, especially their mental well-being and the wider effects of cancer.

The Stigma Surrounding Men's Mental Health

Traditionally, society expects men to be strong and resilient, discouraging them from showing vulnerability. Unfortunately, this cultural expectation has led to a negative stigma surrounding men's mental health.

Statistically, "men tend to fall into dangerous, self-destructive behaviors rather than seek professional help for their mental health" (1800runaway). Men often hesitate to seek assistance because they fear others will perceive them as weak.

Acenda therapist, Anthony Bisti, MSW, LSW, LCADC states, "in my professional experience, men are just as capable as women at expressing their thoughts and emotions when they get in the therapy room, and their need to do so is just as great."

Even though mental disorders are less common in men than in women, both genders are diagnosed at similar rates, and in some cases, men even have higher diagnosis rates. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that "men are less likely to have received mental health treatment than women in the past year" (NIMH). Movember, initially focused on prostate cancer awareness, has evolved to challenge the narrative around men's mental health.

man holding a plastic heart representing men's mental health
Movember and No-Shave November: A Dual Impact

Movember, originating in Australia in 2003, was established to raise awareness about prostate cancer and men's mental health. Participants grow mustaches during November to spark conversations about these critical issues. In addition to its focus on mental health, Movember addresses stereotypes around masculinity and encourages men to seek help.

No-Shave November, founded in 2009, takes a broader approach, aiming to raise cancer awareness in general. In November, people grow their hair and refrain from grooming as they normally would. Instead, they donate the money they would have spent on shaving to the American Cancer Society.

Both Movember and No-Shave November contribute to breaking the stigma surrounding men’s mental health.

Movember's Mission

Movember started as a campaign to grow mustaches and raise awareness for prostate cancer. However, it has now evolved to challenge traditional notions of masculinity. The mustache serves as more than facial hair; it sparks conversations and confronts stereotypes surrounding men's mental health.

This month is about breaking the stigma associated with men’s mental health. Organizations like 'R U OK?' have developed strategies like "ALEC" to navigate tough conversations:

Ask: Initiate a conversation about well-being.

Listen: Provide a safe space for individuals to express their thoughts and feelings.

Encourage Action: Emphasize taking steps toward seeking help or positive changes.

Check-In: Remind individuals they are not alone, fostering ongoing support.

For more insights and resources on starting conversations about mental health, visit Movember's official website. Movember offers practice conversations to help individuals discuss various topics related to their male friends, from signs of withdrawal to balancing work and family.

Take the first step towards better mental health this Movember. Talking about it is a sign of strength. Break the silence and let's make this Movember a month of positive change for men's mental health.

Reach out to our Counseling & Wellness center at (844) 4-ACENDA (844-422-3632 X9500) to learn more.
About the author:

Mariana Heyel, Communications Coordinator at Acenda, is a South Jersey native who ventured to the University of South Carolina for her undergraduate degree, where she studied Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management, with a Minor in Environmental Studies. With a passion for live music, traveling around the world, and the pursuit of knowledge, she embraces the importance of mental health in her life. In the words of Dolly Parton, "You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try."