And just like that, another Movember campaign goes by: no more resisting the urge to shave, bits of food being caught with every bite and finally a goodbye to the sort of facial hair which would definitely get second looks from passers by, if it wasn’t for the mask that has become so integrated into today’s society to cover it. Movember, developed by two Aussie lads way back in ‘03, is an annual event to highlight the importance of men’s wellbeing, such as testicular and prostate cancers as well as men’s mental wellbeing: tackling the issues surrounding suicide and depression. All so iconically symbolised by the moustache.
The greater aim of Movember is to get men talking about mental health, normalising conversation in society as well as earlier detection of cancers which can lead to better treatment and a better prognosis. The campaign emphasizes men to adopt a healthier lifestyle, regularly checking themselves for lumps and bumps and being aware that cancers can run in families.
Men’s mental health is in a crisis, on average men die 6 years earlier than women and whilst unchecked, prostate cancers predict to double in the next 15 years. Globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men aged 15 - 39 years of age, not to mention every minute a man will die of suicide: males counting for 75% of the total. However all is not lost, with the projects aiming to reduce the number of premature deaths by 25% before we reach 2030.
And this can only be achieved if our government listens, our communities instill change and the individuals keep the conversation flowing, not just in November, but every month.
Which brings us onto Nottingham Medics Men’s Football Club. From European glory to renowned international tours for all ages, it’s easy to associate inclusivity with our name. With racism and homophobia becoming a forefront of the football world, Kick It Out and Heads up are just a few leading names to help eliminate this from the beautiful game. At our club it’s no different, adopting a zero tolerance environment, our focus has widened to how we can support our players and teammates mentally in what are incredibly anxious times.
Together, 25 of the club’s finest volunteered to help stoke the fires of Movember and do their bit for men’s health. Our debut campaign last year raised £2614, a nottingham medical school record and although lofty, records are always there to be beaten right? This time round was a little tougher, with our campaign heavily relying on social media updates and very minimal face to face contact. Nevertheless a new year meant new freshers, with Alex Marshall topping the leaderboards and racking up £355, spearheading the team to another record breaking sum of £3252.
Whilst it is incredibly fun to do, it doesn’t matter if you play football or tennis, are young or old, ultimately we are all in the same team, fighting to reduce the archaic stigma of men’s mental health and cancers. Across the planet, men all walks of life will experience mental hardship and life changing events and it’s up to us to support them in every way we can. This year coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic is something that NUMFC will build on, with ideas already in mind to install regular mental health sessions in the new year and make it almost as unwritten to attend as physical sessions. Just to reiterate we raised £3142 from 25 people. It’s not only a large sum but a testament to the kind of power we can bring from such a small group, now imagine how much change could be brought from a whole club, community or even a government. We’re just getting warmed up.