Movember celebrates 20 years of campaigning for men’s mental health

Written by on 19th December 2023

Harry Cleary Movember campaigner

A Movember spokesperson has discussed the importance of men’s mental health to mark the 20th anniversary of the organisation. 

Harry Cleary issued his thoughts on the organisation as a whole, men’s mental health in today’s world, anxiety and much more. 

He said: “Men’s mental health is simply just not discussed enough”. 

Harry embraced and touched on the fact that it is something of the past which has “stigma” still to this day.

Movember is an organisation which thrives on being positive and using this attitude toward combating mental health. 

Harry added: “It is positive to be vulnerable not just for yourself, but for everyone around you, this helps create a sense of community”. 

Movember, particularly associated with being a charity for men, is exploring more so this year the idea that Movember helps everyone.

Harry said: “We are looking at creating healthier relationships, Movember doesn’t just affect men. 

“These relationships being created will create a healthier world, healthier workplace, and overall makes society healthier”. 

Movember is continuing to grow year after year, however, men’s mental health is still something which is hugely discarded even in today’s world. 

When asked about society in today’s world and men’s mental health today, Harry simply responded with: “Unfortunately 75% of suicides still are men”. 

This is something which is a “frightening statistic”. 

He added: “We need a more society-wide approach to this to make the number fall”.

One main aspect that could be looked at is the rise of social media which has potentially led to more men being led down the wrong road, surrounding men’s mental health. 

Accounts promote this sigma male mindset, the idea that men should not express emotion should be strong, brave and powerful.

However, Movember challenges this and reverses the idea, in fact inciting the idea that expressing emotion is a brave and courageous thing to do. 

 Harry spoke upon these accounts and influencers, he said: “The rise of Tiktok and Andrew Tate is massive. 

“Young boys, teenagers adolescents feel lost in a world and latch onto this idea of masculinity and being strong”.

“But strength mentally should be seen in a different way, strength mentally can be admitting your emotions, and this is strong, this is strength”. 

Anxiety is something huge which Movember speaks upon massively, it is perhaps only acknowledged however in serious and extreme matters such as anxiety attacks.

Harry and Movember challenge this idea by stating: “There’s still a long way to go for people to not just think of anxiety as something that is extreme, an emotion that is only there at the worst possible time.

“Anxiety attacks are at the top end of this spectrum, however anxiety is something we feel every day.”

Movember has a routine whereby the idea is to grow the best moustache within the month of November. 

Harry is also growing his very own moustache which is helping raise money and awareness for men’s mental health

When asked about growing the moustache, Harry said: “I think it’s really special that such a simple thing has brought us together.

“I overheard girls talking about their boyfriends’ moustaches and how they were doing it too, it was such a special moment, everyone is growing them together and it is that sense of community that I think is what gives Movember its special, unique edge over charities and organisations.”

Harry is honoured to be part of the Movember team and is hugely proud of the organisation for how far it has come over the last 20 years. 

Harry touched on his own experiences and mentioned his father’s recent passing after trouble with alcoholism, however, he added: “Movember in the wake of that has been such a supportive community for me.”

In light of this Harry has set himself a physical challenge running four 56-kilometre ultra marathons in memory of his dad passing away at 56 years of age. 

Currently, Harry has completed three of the marathons and has the final one in his hometown of Leeds, finishing inside Elland Road, in front of his family, friends and Leeds United players. 

Harry said: “For me, this will be the pinnacle of November, so I just feel very proud to be waving the Movember flag”.

When asked about combating anxiety, Harry mentioned positive token mechanisms. 

This is the idea that someone can suffer from depression or anxiety but rather than drinking as a way to combat this, Harry thoroughly suggests positive token mechanisms such as going for a run, going to the gym, seeing family and friends.  

Through running Harry has found some “solace and direction”, Harry encourages people to: “find your positive token mechanism.”

This is the 20th anniversary of when Movember was launched, therefore this year is incredibly special to the organisation.

Harry said: “It’s crazy how there were a few lads in Melbourne chatting, let’s bring the moustache back into fashion and make it about awareness for prostate cancer.

“How it has grown from then to now, how differently things are viewed it is an incredible change.”

Finally, Harry concluded by saying: “It’s a nice way to mark 20 years of progress and also to look forward to the impact on the next 20 years and beyond that”.

Fitness enthusiast Connor Armstrong shared his thoughts when asked about men’s mental health.

He said: “I think men’s mental health is important and something which can be targeted in a healthy positive way. 

“The gym I feel is one of these positive token mechanisms that Harry Cleary from Movember speaks heavily about.”

Connor also said: “Movember is great as people can come together and grow a moustache, something simple and natural but means a lot.”

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