Movember is uniquely placed to address men’s health on a global scale. In truth, there are a lot of blokes out there doing it tough, but the tragedy is — we don’t talk about it.
Grow a Mo’, save a Bro is a proactive initiative that provides funding for the three biggest health issues facing men: prostate cancer; testicular cancer; mental health and suicide prevention, with the aim to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25% by 2030.
Please introduce yourself and tell us what inspired you to get on board with Movember.
My name is Craig Johnston. I have worked in the health care industry for the past 23 years. I see and experience first-hand the impacts of men’s ill health, both physical and mental, on men as patients, and their loved ones. Four years ago, a staff member’s son committed suicide; seeing and feeling the impact on their family and our workplace motivated me to do what I can to promote the Movember cause. Through raising awareness, if I can encourage men to seek help or talk to someone and stop one person from dying unnecessarily than I have succeeded in what I have set out to do.
How does Movember work, and are there certain rules to be followed?
Movember.com.au is about growing your mo’ and starting conversations with others to help them feel mentally healthy and well. But for those men who are a little unsure or quiet, what advice would you give to them to help kick start these conversations?
Generally, just starting the conversation is the first step; just by asking, “Are you OK?” It is simple and effective; it’s about being consistent with checking in on your mates.
If you have noticed a change in them – say it! If you’re concerned about them – tell them!
As I tell everyone, subtlety doesn’t work; be open and honest.
We find all too often men dismiss their feelings as something that will pass, or they have a tendency to distract themselves with tasks or go into the “man cave”. These feelings may pass initially; however, they often return with greater frequency. If you feel like something is wrong, that you are not your usual self, physically or mentally, talk with your GP.
How can we all help make change happen?
Awareness and open discussion, persistent consistency I feel is the key. Get men to talk about their health. Get the conversation started. It’s OK to ask for help; it’s OK to accept help. It’s even OK to admit that you don’t know what is happening with your health. The best thing we can do is recognise we need help or encourage people to get help. We all joke about “man flu”, but it’s probably the men’s health issue we openly talk about. Imagine what it would be like if men could openly talk about their health issues as easily as we talk about man flu.
What do you hope to achieve by taking part?
For me, it’s all about raising awareness, starting conversations and changing the face of men’s health, with the added bonus of raising money for a great cause.
Where can we donate to your fundraising?
Please sign up and join the team — all Mo’ bros and Mo’ sistas are welcome.