When most people hear the word “Movember,” we typically think of men proudly growing bushy mustaches during the month of November. But it’s actually much greater than just a celebration of facial hair. Movember started in Australia in 2013, where a group of guy friends decided to grow mustaches together for a month to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer. Since then, it’s become a worldwide campaign that champions awareness of all men’s health issues – including mental health.
While I personally will not be growing out my mustache in November, I do feel that this month is a great opportunity to reflect on the barriers experienced by men in addressing their mental health needs. It’s an important topic, especially right now. According to Mental Health America, more than 6 million U.S. men suffer from depression and more than 3 million struggle with an anxiety disorder. Men are less likely than women to be diagnosed or treated for mental illness – some experts believe this is because men are more likely to report symptoms of fatigue, irritability, or loss of interest in work or hobbies – instead of the “typical” depression symptoms of feeling sad or worthless. And men are also four times more likely than women to die by suicide.