Changing the face of men’s mental health this November

movember-2014 

The month of November has become synonymous with The Movember Foundation, the leading global organisation committed to changing the face of men’s health which has raised more than $580 million since its inception twelve years ago. Men around the world grow a moustache during November to spark conversation and raise much needed funds and awareness particularly around men’s health and in particular, prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. The Movember Foundation highlights the importance of both physical and mental health as well as the link between them.

This year, the organisation has developed The Movember Man Files which is an inaugural study into the awareness and attitudes of Australian men towards their health along with their awareness and understanding of issues that can impact their overall wellbeing.

The research showed that 48.1% of Australian men will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives yet they are far less likely to take action for a mental health concern than a physical concern. Five times as many men surveyed did nothing at all about a mental health concern versus a physical health concern and a quarter of men waited a few months or longer to take action for a mental health issue.

Half of Australian men don’t have a good idea of the symptoms of depression and are far more likely to lie to their boss if they need time off work for a mental health issue compared to a serious physical issue; 51% compared to 14%.

So why is mental health issues in men more likely to go undetected than in women? With only half of men being aware of the symptoms of depression, a lack of awareness that there is a problem in the first place is one of the reasons. The associated stigma and the notion of not being ‘manly’ may also be preventing men from taking action and seeking help.

It is important to support campaigns like Movember in the workplace to help raise funds and awareness. Get the whole office involved and create a Movember team or recognise individual employee efforts and the good they are doing. Organisations can also consider dollar matching to encourage employees to take part.

The Movember man Files highlights the success of last year’s campaign with 62 per cent of participants having a check up with a doctor as a direct result of the campaign and 99 per cent discussing their health with family, friends and colleagues. The campaign was also a huge success in terms of creating awareness with 75 per cent claiming to be more aware of their health and the risks they faced.

With continued support from individuals and organisations, the Movember campaign will continue to change the face of men’s health around the world.

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