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Movember: Why it Matters and How to Get Involved

Movember, a global movement celebrated every November, focuses on men’s health and raising awareness and funds for research on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. And uniquely, this event encourages men to grow mustaches throughout the month.

Originating in Australia in 2003, this annual campaign has since morphed into an international phenomenon. The main objective? Spark critical conversations about men's health, break down stigmas, and create a culture of open dialogue. 

By participating in Movember, people contribute to cutting-edge research and support programs and help save lives by increasing awareness of these pressing issues. With each mustache sprouting, we're one step closer to turning the tide on some of the most pressing health issues facing men in today’s societies. 

Featured in: November - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

Movember History and Background

Movember worst moustache graphic

In 2003, two Melbourne-based friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, unknowingly ignited a worldwide movement when they founded Movember. 

Their initial goal was simple – make mustaches fashionable again. But as fate would have it, the idea rapidly evolved into a powerful initiative to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues. 

The very first Movember campaign attracted 30 enthusiastic participants, who grew mustaches throughout November, ultimately raising money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).

The following year, the Movember Foundation became a not-for-profit organization setting out to address prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues. 

As word spread, the campaign gained traction, and by 2006, it crossed oceans, reaching New Zealand. Movember partnered with the Cancer Society of New Zealand and the Mental Health Foundation there. 

Continuing its global march, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Spain welcomed Movember events in 2007, joining hands with various cancer organizations in each country.

Throughout the years, the Movember movement has witnessed several memorable moments and remarkable achievements. In 2010, the campaign etched its name in the Guinness World Records for the "largest number of mustaches grown for charity in one month," boasting an impressive 447,966 participants. 

Realizing the need to address a broader spectrum of men's health issues, the foundation expanded its focus to include suicide prevention in 2016. 

Movember has raised over $1 billion, funding over 1,250 men's health projects in 20 countries. Notable supporters such as Snoop Dogg, Nick Offerman, and Daniel Radcliffe have rallied around the cause and whose contributions have significantly impacted the campaign's success.

Men’s Health Challenges

Movember, the leading charity changing the face of men's health, specifically targets prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. These issues disproportionately impact men's lives, and confronting them can considerably enhance the overall well-being of countless individuals. 

Prostate cancer, the second most prevalent cancer in men, saw over 1.4 million new diagnoses in 20202. Meanwhile, testicular cancer, a less frequent but equally important issue, primarily affects young men in their prime.

Various challenges faced by men and communities grappling with these problems frequently originate from social stigma and lack of awareness. 

Men tend to hesitate to seek help for mental health issues, and higher rates of undiagnosed and untreated mental illnesses result. Societal expectations of masculinity and stoicism further exacerbate this reluctance. Additionally, a limited understanding of prostate and testicular cancer signs and symptoms can cause delays in diagnosis and treatment, affecting the likelihood of favorable outcomes.

Encouraging men to voice their concerns and offering resources and support, Movember tackles the challenges surrounding men's health head-on. Recognizing the magnitude of these issues—75% of all global suicides are men, and suicide is the leading cause of death for men aged 15-44—only highlights the movement's importance and the urgency to address these pressing healthcare disparities.

Related: Read words of lived experience in our mental health quotes.  

5 Important Facts About the Cause

  • Prostate cancer, with over 1.4 million new cases diagnosed each year, ranks as the second most common cancer in men worldwide - one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • Testicular cancer, although less common, tends to affect young men aged 15-35 years. It's vital for these individuals to be aware of the importance of timely screenings and to educate themselves about the symptoms, as early detection can be life-saving.
  • Depression, anxiety, and other related mental health issues are a growing concern for men across the globe. 
  • When it comes to prostate and testicular cancers, early detection and intervention can make a world of difference. In fact, when we catch these cancers in the initial stages, there's a remarkable 98% survival rate — as such, regular check-ups and maintaining a proactive approach to one's health are paramount.
  • Lastly, the significance of a healthy lifestyle is fundamental concerning these health challenges. By committing to regular exercise, a balanced diet, and effective stress management techniques, men can lower their risk of developing prostate cancer, and experience improved mental health and overall well-being.

Read more in our mental health facts.

Efforts and Initiatives

3 men talking
Start a conversation about men's health this Movember. Photo by Helena Lopes.

One noteworthy initiative supporting the Movember cause is the collaboration between the Movember Foundation and mental health organizations, such as Headspace and Beyond Blue. These groups have broadened their outreach by pooling resources, providing crucial aid for young men grappling with mental health challenges1.

Together, they've designed educational programs and campaigns that promote mental well-being and awareness and break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues among men.

The Movember Foundation has successfully forged strong partnerships with numerous research institutions and cancer organizations across the globe. 

For example, in the United Kingdom, the foundation has cooperated closely with Prostate Cancer UK and the Institute of Cancer Research, raising substantial funds for research and significantly boosting public awareness of men's health issues. 

Similarly, Movember has collaborated with Prostate Cancer Canada and the Canadian Men's Health Foundation in Canada, promoting better education, support, and research initiatives.

Crucial to Movember's far-reaching impact is its engagement with grassroots supporters, affectionately known as "Mo Bros" and "Mo Sistas." These individuals champion the cause as ambassadors, coordinating community events, disseminating information on social media, and tapping into their networks to raise awareness and funds. 

As one Mo Bro put it, "We're helping change the face of men's health, one mustache at a time." 

How to Get Involved and Support Movember

Man running
Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

Jumping into the Movember movement can be enjoyable and fulfilling, with numerous avenues to support men's health awareness. Sign up on the official Movember website to jumpstart your engagement and commit to growing a mustache throughout November. This simple yet powerful gesture doubles as an icebreaker, paving the way for discussions about crucial men's health topics like prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health.

Remember to share your mustache progress on social media, using hashtags such as #Movember and #MensHealth to motivate others to join in or contribute to the cause.

Of course, there's more to the Movember movement than facial hair. It's essential to educate yourself about men's health issues. You can explore informative articles and videos on the Movember website and learn vital facts and statistics. 

Forearmed with knowledge, you'll be equipped to chat with friends, family, and colleagues, raising awareness and inspiring them to participate. 

Additionally, why not volunteer at local Movember events? Better yet, take the initiative to set up your own mustache-themed fundraiser, like a friendly competition or party, generating donations and vital funds for health services that support men living with men’s health problems and help fund breakthrough research.

Lastly, consider the power of physical activity in supporting the cause. Make a positive impact by participating in the "Move for Movember" challenge. 

Set a fitness target for the month and request sponsorship from your network. Not only will you raise funds, but you'll also highlight the significance of a healthy lifestyle in preventing health issues. 

Conclusion

By sparking conversations and rallying financial support, this global movement paves the way for earlier cancer detection, cultivates mental health awareness, and, ultimately, saves countless lives. 

Realizing the potency of unity and camaraderie, the Movember campaign garners widespread support, encouraging everyone to partake in combating these pervasive health challenges.

Every effort, big or small, matters—whether you're posting informative content on social media, donating directly to the Movember Foundation, or purchasing Movember merchandise. So, let's challenge the status quo this Movember and play our part in uplifting men's health, one mustache at a time.

Movember FAQs

1. What is Movember?

Movember is an annual event held in November where men grow mustaches to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues, particularly prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health.

2. How did Movember start?

Movember started in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, when a group of men decided to grow mustaches to raise awareness for men's health issues.

3. Why is Movember important?

Movember is important because it raises awareness for men's health issues that are often overlooked or stigmatized. It also raises funds for research and support programs that help men live healthier, happier lives.

4. Can women participate in Movember?

Yes, women can participate in Movember by supporting and encouraging the men in their lives to grow mustaches and by raising awareness and funds for men's health issues.

5. How can I get involved in Movember?

You can get involved in Movember by growing a mustache, donating to the cause, or participating in events and initiatives that raise awareness and funds for men's health issues.

1

Rice, S. M., Fallon, B. J., Aucote, H. M., & Möller-Leimkühler, A. M. (2013). Development and preliminary validation of the male depression risk scale: Furthering the assessment of depression in men. Journal of Affective Disorders, 151(3), 950-958.

2

Ferlay, J., Ervik, M., Lam, F., Colombet, M., Mery, L., Piñeros, M., Znaor, A., Soerjomataram, I., & Bray, F. (2020). Global Cancer Observatory: Cancer Today. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli
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