Making more of men’s health this Movember

November is often seen as a time of facial hair and fireworks, the evenings get darker and mornings frostier.

November is also Men’s Health Awareness Month, which provides crucial awareness for three important health issues affecting men of all ages.

The Movember Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale and is committed to men living happier, healthier, longer lives. Since 2003, millions have joined the men’s health movement, raising £402 million and funding over 1,000 projects focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.

It’s good to talk

One of the biggest challenges that men face is dealing with their mental health. Men are statistically less likely than women to seek help for their mental health and in most cases they will resort to unhealthy alternatives such as substance abuse, self-medication, anger, aggression and isolation to cope with their struggles.

The fear of being judged by society and the notion they should “MAN UP” and be tough enough to face their daily challenges are some of the main reasons men don’t talk about their mental health. This has led to a dramatic rise in the number of men dying too young, with around 13 men in the UK taking their life by suicide every day.

What is mental health?

Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and affects how we think, feel, and act. It relates to a wide range of conditions including social anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, depression and obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD).

Potential causes can include childhood abuse or trauma that continues into an individual’s adult life, making them sensitive to certain places, conditions or even words.

Depression can be triggered by the feeling of sudden loss of loved ones or even surroundings making the person question their self-worth. Unemployment or lack of job security is a major factor when dealing with mental health issues and research has shown that financial stress is linked to around 65% of mental health related conditions in the UK.

Societal pressures to live a lavish lifestyle, fuelled by false social media posts and advertisements, which is quickly becoming one of the key causes of stress and ill mental health.

Treating the mind and body

Poor physical health is also one of the main triggers for ill mental health. Similarly, poor mental health can have a negative impact on an individual’s physical health.

Being able to spot early signs of ill mental health and understanding the source of the problem is crucial to the well-being of the patient.

The MIG provides a wide range of information about a patient’s physical health. This includes, problems, diagnoses, medication (current, past and issues), risks and warnings, procedures, investigations, blood pressure measurements, encounters, admissions and referrals.

Being able to view this information alongside information about an individual’s mental health provides mental health professionals with more context of a patient’s health. This can help mental health professionals to identify potential triggers of ill mental health and supports care planning for long-term conditions and comorbidities.

How to make a donation

On 21 November we’re planning a number of fundraising activities in support of Men’s Health Awareness Month. To make a donation, please visit the Movember Foundation website.