By Coral Nafziger
Even if you’re kind of over the whole mustache thing, there is something different about some of the ‘staches you see around in November. Two organizations — Movember and No-Shave November — use growing facial hair as a way to raise money and awareness for men’s health during this month each year.
Many causes can be easily identified by visual cues, such as the red ribbon for AIDS awareness, pink for breast cancer awareness, silicone awareness for many different causes, and the semi-colon tattoo for suicide awareness.
According to Movember, “The moustache is our ribbon.”
New or unusual facial hair is meant to spark conversations that lead to raising funds and awareness.
If you’re wondering about the focus on men’s health, Movember has a simple explanation: They want to “stop men (from) dying too young.”
It is commonly known that females have a longer life expectancy than males. According to the American Psychological Association– also known as the APA– this is in large part due to social behaviors, not biological factors.
The APA has found that men are less likely to seek medical assistance than women. They also note that masculine ideals in our culture can be detrimental to men’s health, partially because they contribute to the common feeling among men that they need to be independent and take care of things on their own rather than seeking help.
The Ebbtide’s editor in chief, Connor Tee, who recently underwent cancer treatment, noted that the desire to take care of things himself was a barrier for him in seeking treatment. In his comments about this article, he said, “It’s the reason I took so long to go to the doctor when my cancer symptoms first showed up.”
Movember includes mental health and suicide prevention as a men’s health cause because men kill themselves far more often than women. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 75 percent of suicides are committed by men. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that, “Many men do not recognize, acknowledge, or seek help for their depression.”
Growing a mustache may seem silly, but in November, it couldn’t be more serious. It’s time to talk about men’s health.