The yearly event known as Movember involves growing moustaches throughout the month of November to bring attention to issues affecting men’s health like prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide prevention. Movember is a combination of “mo”, the Australian-English diminutive term for moustache, and “November”. The Movember charity event is managed by the Movember Foundation, while Movember’s mission is to “change the face of men’s health”.
To find out more about Movember, we got in touch with Anne-Cécile Berthier. She is Movember’s Country Director for UK and Europe, and has been campaigning for men’s health since 2017.
Please tell us about the idea for Movember and how the movement to raise awareness for men’s health has evolved.
Movember exists to stop men dying too young by tackling some of the most complex health issues facing men today – mental health, suicide, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Movember funds and delivers biomedical research, cancer survivorship programs, innovative community mental health programs and digital health products that work for men. What started as a single-minded fundraising and awareness campaign in 2003 has evolved into a multi-faceted health organization with programs accessed by millions worldwide. We’ve made epic progress in men’s health, but every whisker of credit goes to our Mo Bros, Mo Sisters and Mo Communities around the world – they’re all truly inspirational.
What are your activities regarding men’s mental health and suicide prevention?
Globally, on average, 1 man dies by suicide every minute of every day – that’s over half a million fathers, partners, brothers and friends each year. Suicide prevention is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time but how and why suicides happen is incredibly complex.
At Movember, we’re constantly working towards a world where men take action to be mentally well, and are supported by those around them. And so that’s our mission. To get there, we’re uniting experts, funding bold new approaches and embracing fresh perspectives. Starting a conversation with men who are struggling with their mental health can sometimes feel a little daunting, and so to help build that confidence, Movember has created Movember Conversations – a free, interactive digital tool that presents a number of scenarios relevant to today’s world. Using simulated conversations, Movember Conversations helps people to explore and practice how anyone might navigate a difficult conversation with someone they care about.
What are you doing to raise awareness for prostate cancer?
Globally, more than 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Men over 50, black men, or those whose father or brother had the disease are at even greater risk. If caught early, prostate cancer can be very treatable, and so men are urged to check their risk “without delay” so it can be found before the cancer spreads.
In addition to funding critical biomedical research, Movember also fund True North – a global prostate cancer program that seeks to significantly improve the lives and experiences of men with prostate cancer. Available in 7 countries, the platform provides men:
- with a place to share their prostate cancer experiences;
- understand the latest knowledge on care and treatment;
- guide men, doctors, partners and caregivers to make key decisions as a team; and
- discover ways to improve care and support for men living with and beyond a diagnosis.
Prostate cancer facts can also be found on the website to raise awareness of who’s at risk, the importance of getting a PSA test (a routine blood test), signs, symptoms and side effects of prostate cancer as well as understanding the current treatments that are available.
What is your approach towards testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men aged between 15 and 34, but 62% of those who are most at risk don’t know how to check themselves. However, Movember has it covered.
To ensure every male understands the correct procedure for checking their nuts, Movember has published “How-to” guides for frequent examinations. When caught early, testicular cancer is highly treatable and highly curable, and so the purpose of these guides is to encourage those who notice change to act accordingly. Nuts & Bolts is another guide Movember has created to support those during their testicular cancer journey. From diagnosis, to treatment, to life afterwards, the Nuts & Bolts tool kit provides each male with the right information to support them on their testicular cancer journey.
What can women do to support men’s health?
There are many ways not just women, but friends and family members can support men’s health. Whether that’s by growing a moustache, running or walking 60 km over the month, hosting a Mo-ment or deciding to Mo Your Own Way and taking part in an endurance test – every activity contributes to making significant impact towards changing the face of men’s health.
What are your plans for this year’s awareness month? Any surprises such as moustaches for planes?
This year and beyond we are continuing to raise awareness of men’s health issues by encouraging our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to Grow a Mo, Move for Movember, Host a Mo-ment or to Mo Your Own Way. As for November 2022, you can expect to see more moustaches than ever before, so keep your eyes peeled for your Mo’s across town.
Many thanks for the interview and for your time!