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Disability Awareness and ‘Movember’: Breaking Stigmas, Building Movements 

Disability Awareness and 'Movember': Breaking Stigmas, Building Movements 

Movember is the time of the year when men grow their mustaches. However, it’s not just about the beards.
We’ll dive into the meaningful intersection of Movember and National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), highlighting the importance of raising awareness, encouraging men to talk about their health, and sharing several activities that can help promote men’s health and advocate for individuals with disabilities.

Why Is Movember Celebrated? 

In 2003, Australian friends Luke Slattery and Travis Garone had two things in mind: to bring back the mustache or the “Mo” in recent trends and make a campaign on men’s health and prostate cancer, inspired by their friend’s mother, who was then fundraising for breast cancer.¹

According to the American Cancer Society, as of 2023, there are around 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer, and 34,700 have passed away due to the disease.² It is currently one of the leading causes of death in American men. Additionally, about 1 in every 250 men may develop testicular cancer.³ Although it isn’t as common as prostate cancer, men can get diagnosed with the disease at the average age of 33.

The Movember movement, celebrated every November, was officially formalized in 2004 to shine a spotlight on men’s health challenges when 30 Mo Bros grew their mustaches for a cause, encouraging men to take charge of their physical and mental health beyond just growing a mustache.

Each mustache grown costs 10 dollars, and the same rules apply today. The campaign has grown internationally since 2007 and has now broadened to focus on four issues related to men’s health: poor mental health, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and physical inactivity.

Men’s Mental Health Matters 

Mental health affects everyone, and men are no exception. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that one in ten men grapples with depression or anxiety disorders.⁴ Despite these challenges, less than half of those surveyed with these disorders seek help. Mental health affects longevity as well as quality of life. Mental Health America underscores that men frequently avoid seeking assistance for issues like depression, substance abuse, and stress.⁵

It’s crucial to recognize that men face unique hurdles when seeking support. Stigma plays a significant role in preventing men from discussing their mental health openly and leaves many struggling in silence. This can have fatal consequences, too, with men being four times more likely to die by suicide annually than women.

Movember and Disability: Breaking Barriers for Inclusive Health  

Cultural attitudes can act as a barrier, discouraging men from seeking help. Men may feel embarrassed about discussing mental health and going to the doctor for regular exams. Archetypal male constructs may lead some to think that it is “unmanly” to do so.

Part of Movember is about breaking these constructs and letting men know that it’s acceptable to look after themselves and seek help when they’re unwell. Here’s a look at the challenges to men’s health that we need to know of.

Increased Loneliness

Loneliness can affect every individual as it is a macro societal trend; however, some may argue it affects men more.

Related Reading: Loneliness at Work 

Conflicting Expectations

Men with disabilities may struggle to reconcile societal expectations of masculinity, emphasizing strength and self-reliance, with the perceived “weakness” or “dependence” often associated with disabilities.

We can help men by promoting conversations in the workplace that challenge traditional views of masculinity. Movember can be part of that by talking openly about physical and mental health as well as what can be done to mitigate men’s diseases.

Reshape the Workplace: 5 Activities to Organize This Movember 

You can help raise awareness at work by gathering your team members and asking for their help to organize activities you can all participate in. Here are some ideas for you to consider.

1. Encourage everyone to move

To stay healthy, part of our efforts should encourage people to stay active. Urge your team to participate by having team walks or arranging your meetings outdoors.

According to a study by the Harvard Medical School on 1,000 individuals, people who walked at least 20 minutes a day for five days a week reported 43 percent fewer sick days than individuals who exercised less.⁶ In cases they did get sick, it was only for a short duration and with milder symptoms.

Walking is also a great way to mitigate the symptoms of various disabilities acquired later in life. Additionally, walking helps build friendships at work, making your employees feel more connected to one another.

2. Organize a healthy lunch out

Food can be more satisfying when shared with others. This Movember, treat your team to a healthy lunch they can enjoy. A balanced diet leads to increased physical and mental health. Eating well together can be a way to raise awareness about its importance. You can also take this time to discuss what Movember is all about. If they’re comfortable, encourage the men in your group to share personal stories about physical and mental health.

3. Have a Best Mo contest

Since the main idea of Movember is to help raise awareness about men’s health, why not have a fun mustache contest at work?

During this time, many will recognize Movember by growing mustaches. From short to bush to curly, it’s an excellent opportunity to have fun and express themselves. At the end of the month, you can have a contest to recognize and celebrate all the unique mustaches.

4. Organize a wellness fair

Organizing a health and wellness fair is a great way to foster employee well-being. Invite wellness coaches and experts to educate and assess your employees on various health-related topics. In the spirit of Movember, you can center the fair around relevant themes, scheduling sessions on:

  • Testicular Cancer Awareness
  • Prostate Cancer Awareness
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Mental Health Exercises and Interventions
  • Stress Reduction Training
  • Work-Life Balance Training

5. Raise funds for charity

Fundraising for a charitable cause during Movember is a fulfilling endeavor. Begin by selecting one or two charities that support individuals dealing with mental health issues, testicular cancer, or prostate cancer, aligning with the Movember theme.

Fundraising activities may include bake sales, trivia nights, or sports tournaments. You can leverage your company’s social media platforms, email, and other communication channels to promote your fundraising efforts and raise awareness about the importance of men’s health.

SHOW YOUR MOVEMBER ALIGNMENT WITH PEAK PERFORMERS

Join us in the spirit of Movember as we work together to foster a workplace that values health for all. At Peak Performers, we understand the importance of raising awareness about men’s health. In partnering with us, you not only find qualified candidates with disabilities, some of which include men with mental health disorders or men who currently or previously have had cancer.

Reach out to us today to align your organization with Movember values. Together, we can build a more inclusive, healthier, and thriving workplace.

References 

1. “Movember’s origin story: in 2003, two mates were having a quiet beer when they began to joke about bringing the mustache back.” Movember, 30 Dec. 2015, us.movember.com/story/view/id/11213.

2. “Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer.” American Cancer Society, Updated 12 Jan. 2023, www.cancer.org/prostate-cancer/key-statistics.

3. “Key Statistics for Testicular Cancer.” American Cancer Society, Updated 12 Jan. 2023, www.cancer.org/testicular-cancer/key-statistics.

4. “Men’s Mental Health.” Anxiety & Depression Association of America, https://adaa.org/find-help/by-demographics/mens-mental-health. 24 Oct. 2023.

5. “5 Minute Guide to Men’s Mental Health.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/infographic-mental-health-men. 24 Oct. 2023.

6. “5 Surprising Benefits of Walking.” Harvard Health Publishing, 25 Aug. 2022, www.health.harvard.edu/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking.

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