Let’s talk about men’s mental health month. As this rolls by each year, I’m always pondering how I can highlight why it’s so important.
Then I thought about a little project I have been working on for the last couple of months. My beard.
Movember is a fantastic way for men to raise money and also simply bring awareness to men’s mental health.
If one man growing his moustache is making another ask the question – why are you growing that thing? Then that starts one more conversation about it than yesterday.
But a moustache of all things. Why?
Have you heard the stereotype that men can’t find something unless it’s pointed out to them? Or if it’s right under their noses? It’s pretty profound when you really think about it. And I love this metaphor for it. Even if you do not agree with the stereotype, something on your face is a very effective way to bring awareness to others.
What’s this got to do with your beard though?
That’s a great question. As with many men getting comments on their moustaches, I have been getting constant comments on my beard for months.
My beard has unintentionally become a metaphor for what Movember is achieving and highlighting that it should be brought to our attention all year round.
Whilst we are discussing men’s mental health in November, we need to continue to talk about it. All the time. With anyone.
So many men I know had committed to their Movember sponsorship and then as December comes by, they say they ‘Might as well carry on growing it’.
Which is exactly the attitude we need. If you can do something to keep the conversation going, it’ll open up the conversation all year round.
So, what can I do about it?
There are small things that everyone can do. There are a surprising amount of men that I come across, from all walks of life, who make a passing comment that something is bothering them but they think they are the only ones with that issue.
Men are rife for having that urge to test the waters when talking about their feelings but don’t want to take the dive.
We can help by simply understanding that a lot of men are far more similar than they think and that would be common knowledge if we can all open up to each other. But I know it’s not that easy.
Even just relating a man’s issue with another you know of (with their permission) can open a whole new world for both of them where they think ‘maybe there are other men who will understand.’
Our feelings and emotions all come from a commonplace. Everyone’s life is unique, but everything can be rooted in a common issue that others have too.
This conversation is still rooted in a lot of fear, but a moustache can grow into a luscious beard, and so can the conversation if we let it happen.