Tina Wu

Research suggests that the male population are not receiving the support they need for gender-based
mental health.

This is often due to stigma surrounding men who open about their feelings to others for fear of being
ridiculed or being seen as less of a man, according to the Movember Foundation, an international
organisation that targets health issues related specifically for men.

“Men’s health is in crisis,” says Craig Martin, spokesperson for the Movember Foundation. “Part of this
is we teach our boys and young men to suck it up and harden up.”

“And when they’ve got a problem, [we teach them] to ‘deal with it’ rather than perhaps taking action or
seeking support, because that’s considered potentially a sign of weakness.”

In response to this lack of communication, the Movember Foundation is urging for men to seek support
and raise awareness for mens mental health in the coming weeks by growing a moustache, or “Mo’s”,
throughout the month of November as a sign of support for health issues including mental illness, prostate
and testicular cancer.

One of the key factors contributing to men’s mental health is the low level of support they feel entitled to
receive. According to the Foundation, 70 per cent of men say their friends can rely on them for help, but
only 48 per cent admit that they rely on their friends.

Many also have a hard time starting a conversation with the men around them. “From some of the
research we’ve done, we know that a lot of people want to ask the men in their life how they’re going, but
they often don’t know how to,” says Martin.

To address this, the Movember Foundation has provided a simple four-step process of ask, listen,
encourage action and check in. They have also invested in more than 1200 projects that aim to improve
mental health for men from all walks of life.

“We’ve designed programs for almost every conceivable population of men from older men to younger
men, to men in the workplace, to fathers, to GBTIQ+ men, to men in rural areas,” says Martin.

According to the Foundation, suicide is the leading cause of death for men between 15-44 years of age,
with six Australian men committing suicide a day. Men are also three times more likely to take their lives
than women.

If you or anyone you know are suffering from mental health, sign up to start growing your own Mo this
November, or call the national MensLine at 1300 78 99 78.