Country Director Ireland, Movember Foundation
Globally, men die on average five years earlier than women and for reasons that are largely preventable. It doesn’t have to be that way: we can all take action to live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Early on, when we first began to address men’s health issues in 2003, we started with prostate cancer. It immediately became obvious that while there was a clear need to advance medicine, it was imperative to address men’s behaviour when it came to their health.
Broadly, men are less likely to go to their doctor than their female counterparts and tend to ignore early warning signs and symptoms of larger issues. When we consider this in the context of a prostate or testicular cancer diagnosis, where early detection can save your life, it’s clear why this is such a pivotal and integral piece of the puzzle.
Broadly, men are less likely to go to their doctor than their female counterparts and tend to ignore early warning signs and symptoms of larger issues.
Addressing mental health challenges
This lack of help seeking behaviour reaches far beyond cancer. As the world’s leading men’s health organisation, we could no longer ignore the fact that suicide is becoming a largely male issue, with men accounting for three in four suicides globally, over 500,000 men every year.
Mental health and suicide prevention are an incredibly nuanced area to address, however, it’s clear that men’s reluctance to seek help is having a catastrophic impact. Far too many men are suffering in silence and seeking help too late, if at all. How and why suicides happen is incredibly complex.
Making lasting change
What we do know is that helping men establish better social connections can improve their overall wellbeing and reduce risk of suicide. In our mission to make lasting change and dramatically reduce the rate of male suicide, Movember funds community-based early intervention programmes that address mental health through a male lens. We say that the guys who grow moustaches in Movember become walking, talking billboards for men’s health. They help us to start and open up the conversation around our mental and physical health and help us to have a real and lasting impact by instigating a cultural shift where men are more conscious of, take ownership of and, most importantly, take action when it comes to their health.