As autumn deepens and the leaves fall, a global movement grows – literally – on the faces of men around the world. “Movember” is a critical campaign focusing on men’s health issues, including the often-overlooked area of mental health. Movember provides a potent reminder of the silent struggles occurring in your male workforce and the importance of offering resources that help destigmatize mental health and normalize ways to build healthy habits.
Movember began in 2003 in Australia, with a handful of participants growing moustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Fast forward to today, the movement addresses various men’s health issues, including mental health and suicide prevention. According to the Movember Foundation, globally, a man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 69% of all suicides.
We’re sure you’ve heard it before, but have you ever thought about how across cultures, men are expected to embody strength and resilience? Because of this, many tend to keep their struggles to themselves, making them less likely than women to look for mental health support. With this in mind, you can see why initiatives like Movember are so vital – they play a big role in pushing back against these old beliefs and encouraging open, much-needed discussions.
Consider the story of Nate, a construction worker operating on a two-weeks-on, one-week-off schedule. Nate’s routine separates him from his family, an unavoidable aspect of his job. Usually, he manages well enough, but there are moments where he experiences some anxiety, particularly during the quiet evenings in his temporary accommodations.
Nate isn’t experiencing a state of crisis, but he’s in a position where gaining deeper insight into his anxiety and embracing the appropriate tools to work on it would be beneficial. Instead of being pointed to his EAP, which offers therapy that remains highly stigmatized among males, or doing nothing and just riding out his symptoms, employees like Nate can now access guided practices to build simple habits, anonymously. Instead of the ill-fitted therapy solution that is typically the go-to for employers, Nate can seamlessly navigate his mental health with manageable 2-minute mental health exercises, which can help him understand his anxiety and use practical skills to manage stressors, thereby preventing his mental health from spiraling when he’s away from his support system.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention notes that in 2020, men died by suicide 3.88x more often than women in the United States. In Canada, the suicide rate was 15.2 per 100,000 for men, in contrast to women which saw rates of 5.0 per 100,000. Yet, despite the high risks, a large percentage of men do not (or feel they cannot) seek help. Movember emphasizes this disparity, aiming to reduce the rate of male suicide by 25% by 2030.
Where do we go from here? For employers and HR professionals, these statistics are a call to action. Offering proactive and always-on solutions that are built for the unique challenges of stigma around men’s mental health are key. It’s about preventing individuals from reaching the crisis stage, so people (like Nate) are proactively addressing their stressors before they snow-ball into more serious issues.
In this constantly connected digital age, immediate access isn’t a luxury; it’s an expectation. Through tech-powered platforms, instant, stigma-free support becomes the norm, fostering a healthier, more resilient workforce.
As we acknowledge the bravery of those growing their facial hair in support, let’s also commit to actionable change within our workplaces.
In honor of Movember, let’s champion the cause for proactive mental health care to help fight the silent stigma that our male colleagues are fighting every day.
At headversity, we’ve worked extensively with male-skewing industries like construction, oil & gas, and manufacturing, proudly partnering with organizations including Apache Industrial, Shell, Graham Construction, and more.
Connect with us if you’re looking for ways to empower your workforce (male, or otherwise!) with important and anonymous tools to manage mental health and resilience.