• Jonny Lorimer

Changing the face of Men's Health, one whisker at a time

As 2020 draws to a close, the importance of Movember is only reinforced as the UK begins lockdown 2.0 and further uncertainty lies ahead. I began this month baby-faced and as I looked upon my naked top lip, I thought about some of the reasons for supporting this charity.

Movember for me starts in secondary school and I have fond memories of the teachers, and one grossly hairy year 11, growing mo’s in November. I thought the moustaches were funny, and they can be, but they represent a lot more than that in this month of upper-lip fluff. They have become a visible symbol for men and women to come together to laugh and to talk about serious stuff, without stigma. And it is not all about the rat ‘tache, if like me, you struggle to grace the top-lip then moving for Movember has become more popular with people doing some pretty ballsy heroics that are well worth supporting.

At the core of Movember is promoting health and wellbeing. They support men’s health by investing in research to further improve treatment in prostate and testicular cancer. Not only do they address physical health concerns, they don’t shy away from tackling the challenges of mental health either. Encouraging anyone to be open about their wellbeing or struggles is no easy task, and this is particularly true of young men. The Movember mo’s offer a light-hearted conversation starter into difficult topics. Reflecting on my school days, those teachers made a lasting impression, and this is what the mo is about.

It seems silly to see the return of the handlebar mo, but Movember has a no-nonsense approach in its goals. Their primary aim is to reduce men dying prematurely by 25% by 2030. Over time the topic of mental health has become more approachable, but we are still a long way away. The impact of mental illness is far-reaching and spares few, so the significance of talking about it pragmatically is paramount. Lockdown and its crapper sequel, Lockdown 2.0, has brought about new and unique challenges for everyone. Perhaps Movember has come at the best possible time to coincide with lockdown, and acts as a reminder that although we can’t see each other, we still care about each other. And if we can do that in this month, why not all year round?

The Mo movement started out in Melbourne with a few bros growing moustaches to raise some pennies for charity. But what these bros were yet to realise was the need for a movement like this. Whatever you donate could save a brother, a dad or an old friend.