With a little over the month gone, I am 20% of the way to my goal of $500. This is my first year participating in Movember even though I have watched friends participate for years now. This year it felt right to step in an take a more active role. Not to long ago I took part in the 22 day – 22 push-up challenge, a challenge that has brought awareness to the the high toll PTSD has on servicemen. A reported 22 US veterans take their lives each day, and that is sadly only part of the story. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, killing 42,773 people each year. Worse is that for every death there are 25 reported attempts. [Stats]
While suicide is not gender or race specific, in 2014 males rates were 3.5x higher than women and 70% were white males. Suicide is also not constrained by boundaries, this is a global epidemic.
There is no one reason for suicide, according to Psychology Today there are six core reasons, and I would not assume to understand. Each person will rationalize it differently and many will have tried to get help but not found it. Yet, I believe that with education and awareness we can make a difference.
If you are suffering and need to talk to someone, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
The Movember Foundation is aiming to reduce the rate of male suicide by 25% by 2030, and I want to help them get there. Let’s get men the help they need.
What is the Movember Foundation?
The Movember Foundation is a well respected organization that grew out of a fun conversation between friends at a Melbourne pub back in 2003. They had discussed how the moustache had all but disappeared from fashion, and challenged themselves to see if they could bring it back. That first year it was all about the fun and included just 30 of their friends, but what they quickly realized was that it was a conversation starter. They could make a real impact, and found the perfect fit in supporting men’s health, which was severely underfunded. In 2004, 480 Mo Bros raised over $40,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia which was the largest single donation the PCFA had ever received. From there the movement was born. By 2015, over 5 million people have participated, raising over $710 million and funding 1200 men’s heath projects around the globe. [Read more]
While known for their focus on Prostate and Testicular cancer, the Movember foundation has expanded to also include mental health issues as well, including male suicide. It is a multi-pillar approach designed to tackle the most serious male health issues worldwide.
The state of men’s health is in crisis. Men experience worse longer-term health than women and die on average six years earlier. Prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years. Testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50. Three quarters of suicides are men. Poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year. That’s one every minute.
– Movember Foundation
What I am doing?
This year I felt it was my turn to step up and speak out, it was time to get off the side-lines and into the game. As strong males, we don’t like to see ourselves as weak or vulnerable. We, or at least I, still view myself as young and invincible even as I know I am getting older. It is hard to see myself as aging, and I don’t like to admit when I am suffering. I keep things to myself and try to hide it from the world. Yet, it wasn’t working and I saw my life slowly spiraling out of control – it had to stop. I founded this site was as a way to release some of that mental suffering and share my experiences in the hopes that someone finds them valuable. It was important and has been a major key in getting my out of my negative mindset.
It seemed appropriate that, coincidentally, Movember started off with my first prostate exam which was probably one of the most uncomfortable things I have done in a while. Far more mentally unsettling than painful, it also reminded me that I need to pay attention to my own health. It was a good smack that has refocused my attention on eating right and exercising – over the last couple years I have slowed my daily exercise routines and leaned on the easy dinners of pizza and fast food. Fruit smoothies went from daily to weekly to monthly “treats”. It is time I changed that… and there is no better time than now.
In the spirit of Movember, I wanted to inject a little fun back into some of these hard and troubling topics. I wanted to engage people in the process. I wanted to make things personal. I am asking you to choose my fashion statement for the month of December, and extending the Movember spirit throughout the holiday season. All donations to my account will be placed in one of the four following buckets – to keep things even tallies are calculated in US dollars. UPDATE: Ease the burden of the international exchange rates, I will personally match the exchange rate of your donation – making sure every dollar you give … count. Just let me know what bucket you prefer, and on December 1st I will make my fashion statement. As a bonus, I will extend my fashion statement by a month for every $500 I hit.
Also known as the “Walter White” look, I pledge to shave my head and grow out a full goatee or beard to round out the look.
Movember is all about the moustache, and while I feared the 80’s pimp look I don’t think it looks too bad. Maybe I should keep it around a little longer.
This is my standard go to, the goatee. I have been sporting this bad-boy on and off for years now.
It might just be time to break out the baby face and trim up for the holidays.