We have reached the last day of November and a campaign which has become incredibly prominent throughout the month is Movember. HeadsUp’s Male Mental Health Officer, Josh Armstrong, speaks about the importance of the cause.
Campaigns like Movember play such a worthwhile role in raising awareness for male mental health. Growing a moustache is such an easy task (for some men, myself not included), but acts as such an easy talking point for fellas to talk about why they have this *attempted* moustache on their face in the first place.
Male mental health is still such a stigmatized topic, but it is so encouraging to see so many men actively participating in ending this stigma and opening the conversation! Strong and genuine conversations make it much more likely for men to share with a mate. So, writing this I want to encourage every fella who maybe isn’t feeling himself to speak to a friend, a family member or a professional. Whatever you feel comfortable in doing.
On the other hand, a lot of men still don’t feel comfortable speaking about these sorts of things, which is understandable. As men we often tend to try and act like ‘men’, but I want to change the meaning of this. I want men to stop pretending that we don’t have feelings. I want to create the idea that acting like a ‘man’ means that you look out for your pals, you speak up about how you feel, and you don’t shy away from admitting we all have emotions. Sometimes these emotions can be overwhelming, and so if you think a mate might not be himself…
…Ask them how they’ve been.
…Tell them you fancy a catch-up.
…Let them know you are there for them.
All of these simple messages can have such a colossal impact on someone’s life and wellbeing. An important thing to remember is that you might never know what is going on in someone’s life, so letting them know you care through simple gestures could make such a difference in their day-to-day life.
On the other hand, if you’re not feeling like yourself the first step in making this known is reaching out; which I believe Movember encourages perfectly. If you see someone with a moustache that maybe looks a little bit feeble, or its dyed green and curly, the likelihood is they are growing it to support men who need encouraged to speak out.
As uni students, it’s not uncommon for us to let different things get in the way of our priorities. For example, we spend so much time stressing over deadlines, demotivated in whatever we might be doing, or just hungover with no incentive to do work. However, these feelings are completely normal. If you’re reading this, I can nearly guarantee you’ve felt one of these feelings before, in the same way that we’ve all felt under the weather from time to time. Not every day is going to be perfect, but knowing you have people around you that will support you can make those long days a little bit easier.
Let’s end of the stigma of men not being able to speak about their mental health, and collectively stop men dying too young!
If anyone is struggling with their mental health, PLEASE speak to a mate if that is the easiest thing to do! If not, please do not hesitate to get in touch with HeadsUp, or other organisations such as MIND (0300 123 3393) or the Samaritans (116 123).
Lots of HeadsUp love,
Male Mental Health Officer 2021/22
LSU Welfare and Diversity