Content Note: discussion of suicide, anxiety
The appearance of many questionable moustaches around Cambridge last term could only mean one thing: the return of Movember. Now arguably the most well-known global men’s health campaign, the Movember Foundation does fantastic work both to raise awareness of male health problems and to fund important research into trying to solve them.
This year, Student Minds Cambridge ran a special Movember campaign focusing on men’s mental health, particularly for Cambridge students. Why? Because in the UK in 2016, just over three out of every four suicides (76%) are by men. Latest figures tell us that although women are more likely than men to have a common mental health problem, they are also far more likely to be diagnosed and receive treatment: for example, men are about half as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as women. It’s clear that a lot of men are suffering in silence because they don’t feel able to talk about their problems, particularly when seeking professional help from their GP or a mental health specialist. Men should never feel scared or embarrassed to talk about their mental health. If we can turn men’s mental health from a silent problem to a more vocal problem, that is half of the battle.
To raise awareness of some of these issues, the Student Minds Cambridge team has been busy organising various events throughout November … organising the first ever Movember Formal at Jesus College, leading Movember pub quizzes at several colleges, cycling over 60 miles from Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds and back in our first ‘Ride for Movember!’. The team also raised over £1,230 in sponsorship and donations which will go towards the Movember Foundation to help fund their excellent work. We’d like to thank everyone who donated or got involved in any of our events over the month!
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Movember Foundation UK has 5 simple action points:
- ENCOURAGE ACTION
- CHECK IN
Check out the Ask Twice campaign (https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/asktwice): “Sometimes we say we’re fine when we’re not, so if your mate’s acting differently, ask twice.”
But don’t just check in with others … check in with yourself too. If you’re just feeling a bit rubbish, that’s completely normal. Sometimes you need days of self-care, of doing nothing. Sometimes it can help to chat to a friend or family member about how you’re feeling. Sometimes you might need to speak to your GP. Never be embarrassed about speaking about your feelings, poor mental health is something that affects so many people and you’re never ever alone in feeling that way.
If you’re in Cambridge, check out the Student Minds Cambridge website at https://www.findsupportcam.com for some excellent resources.