It’s Movember! So What?

It’s that time of the year again: the month when we suddenly see an exponential skyrocketing of the number of moustaches that suddenly pop up on the street, on campus, at the gym, and everywhere else in between. But what’s it all about? I have to admit, I’ve heard of it before.  After all, it’s practically impossible to avoid it with all the mo pictures being posted on Facebook throughout the month.  But I never really thought to ask why guys set out to grow a moustache only in November.  I had always assumed it was just some fad until I was directed to the official Movember website.  Turns out, Movember isn’t just the “in” thing to do every November.  It’s for a very notable cause and I’d like to share my findings in order to further the discussion that Movember attempts to generate. So, what is Movember? The short answer is that Movember seeks to raise funds and awareness for men’s health.  But exploring their website for only five minutes showed me that even though their aim may sound simple, there’s much more to this initiative than meets the casual eye.  By sporting a Mo, men everywhere become walking, talking billboards for Movember, and prompting much-needed private and public conversations about men’s health.  An especially important topic highlighted by Movember is prostate cancer. It’s not an uncommon health issue amongst men, given that 1 in 6 men is diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Movember 2012 is especially special because it has added on a second cause, which is male mental health.  Statistically, men, on average, have a life expectancy 4-5 years less than females.  And mental illness is identified as having a very significant link to men’s health in general.  Here’s an example: the risk of suicide in men with prostate cancer is over 4x that of men without prostrate cancer.  The Canadian Male Health Network was recently formed to further examine the linkages between male mental health and overall health and wellness. Now that I've learned so much more about Movember, I have developed a much deeper appreciation for the campaign and for every Mo I happen upon.  It’s unquestionably an important talk that needs to happen and it’s great to see Movember make a meaningful but fun campaign of it.  The key to it all is the conversations, though. And so, my challenge to everyone for this month is to engage any guy you see or know who’s growing a Mo and ask him why he’s taking part in Movember and how growing a Mo has gone for him so far. Living in residence I’ve certainly started seeing a growing number of Mo’s.  It's fun, as I have started having conversations with many of these people about their Mo's and have  gotten to know people I may have never have met, otherwise. Are you growing a Mo or supporting someone growing a one?  What’s your story and what Mo-style are you trying to grow?   Keep on Mo-ving, Vivian

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