Movember’s founders and participants have discovered a whimsical way to impact the most devastating human crisis: suicide. It’s a fascinating way to foster earnest conversations that otherwise wouldn’t happen, starting over and under a mustache in November.
What is Movember
Movember began in 2003 when friends Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, decided to grow mustaches (mo’s) and launch a campaign to raise funds to focus on men’s health issues in their native Australia. Through the years, Movember has grown into an annual, global initiative and the largest charity in the world (with 6 million participants) dedicated to men’s health issues.
It is aimed at raising awareness and funds to save and change men's lives by supporting programming and funding addressing mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.
Every November, men around the world grow a mustache as part of the campaign. The movement is catching on, with support from influential charities and high-profile personalities, all with the aim of raising funds for the causes.
Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects worldwide. The impact: challenging the status quo of men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men and boys everywhere.
Movember Moves on Mental Health
Among all the issues the organization addresses, Movember’s efforts are decidedly behavioral health driven. With that segment of care often both overlooked or misunderstood, it is a prevalent need that has grown with COVID’s personal and economical compounding effects damaging mental health.
These statistics put the urgency into perspective:
Movember looks at mental health through a male lens, focusing on prevention through early intervention. The mission is to encourage men to take action to be mentally well and to be supported by those around them. Conversations among guys about areas that aren’t typically friendly fodder – anxiety, depression, suicide – and the impacts these conditions have on their personal and professional lives, should happen. Improving overall mental health is impacted by helping men have stronger social connections to reduce the risk of suicide.
“Whatever you grow, will save a bro. Have a convo.”
It’s been found that conversations among trusted family, friends, and colleagues is communication that breaks through stigmas that often keep men from seeking help for behavioral problems they’re suffering. Sometimes, it takes someone else to recognize a person’s problems. Other times it takes a friend to encourage a guy to get what he needs to get his life right. Either way, identifying and owning the problem is the first step toward recovery. The next step is utilizing the professional mental healthcare resources available to get and stay on a constructive track.
With the urgency of suicide, stopping that permanent choice for a temporary situation is the move of Movember. When a guy’s persona or activity participation radically changes, that’s a telling sign they may be silently struggling with something they can’t handle alone. That’s the power of the bro convo – approaching them and asking what’s going on, then listening to him. Encouraging him to get professional help. And keeping in touch with him throughout his treatment (friends don’t abandon friends in a storm). Demonstrating caring for someone in crisis can get them to open up and show up...
“How and why suicides happen is incredibly complex. What we do know is that helping men establish better social connections can improve their overall well-being and reduce the risk of suicide. In our mission to make lasting change and dramatically reduce the rate of male suicide, Movember funds community-based early intervention programs that address mental health through a male lens.”
– Brendan Maher, Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Movember
Behavioral Health Practices Joining the Movement
“Grow a mo; be a mo bro.”
While Movember’s grassroots efforts’ first focus is friend-to-friend, the behavioral health community supplies lasting solutions. Movember creates a strong tie-in for mental health practitioners to join the campaign by educating those in their areas about the access options to the services available. Reaching males with suicide ideology remains fraught with obstacles; this campaign helps breakthrough.
Behavioral practices and facilities can use their website and social media platforms to join the movement. Target both struggling individuals as well as primary care physicians and other referral partners. Position as a service provider that conversing bros refer their family and friends to who need help.
These resources make it easy to get involved:
Movember’s magnitude on behavioral health services demand is often optimized through patient encounter-assisting automation. Electronic health records platforms (EHR) supply caseload management and operations workflow assistance, and a better practitioner experience.
Functionality includes telehealth (where applicable), patient portal interactivity, in-patient monitoring and outpatient appointment scheduling with reminders, e-prescription, and eMAR, all with reimbursement billing streamlining. See how it works here.
Note: To speak with someone immediately, contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK), Lifeline Crisis Chat or National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741. Then call a bro; they care…