Off topic

Movember is here!

To donate to Movember follow this link and help me to raise $500 this month.
If you need to speak with someone immediately, in Australia call:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14, or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Movember comes around once every year. For a lot of people its just a bit of fun: guys grow moustaches – or in some cases try to grow them – girls maybe pretend to grow them by wearing or painting on fake moustaches, and everyone has an excuse to add just a little bit of silliness to their lives. There is nothing wrong with any of that. I think most people could do with a healthy dose of silly every now and again, if only to help alleviate the drudgery that can sometimes be life.

But Movember is about more than that. Its actually about men’s health, specifically in the areas of prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention. They are all big issues, important issues, and the work done and money raised goes to saving lives. One of the reasons for focusing on men’s health is the idea that men tend to tough things out, not letting others know about issues they might be facing for fear of not being “manly”. And because of that we don’t get the help we need when we need it, only to hurt ourselves in the long run, as well as those around us.

As you can probably guess, I’m participating in Movember this year. It’ll be the fourth time I’ve actively tried to raise money. Last year, thanks to friends and family but also through my initial efforts through social media I was able to raise over $400, more than I had raised in the previous three attempts combined. My initial goal this year is to crack $500, but hopefully you can help me to do much more.

The big reason why I’m doing this is around the mental health aspect. Three quarters of all suicides are men, which on average results in a male suicide every minute around the world. That means that by the time you finish reading this post, a handful of men or more will no longer be with us. There is no way that that is something we should be living with without at least trying to fix it.

I’ve never been diagnosed with or suspect myself of having Depression. I’ve certainly never contemplated taking my own life. But there have been times when I couldn’t see a way out of whatever problems and obstacles I was facing, I couldn’t work out how to get clear, and just wanted it to be over. Even to myself I never clarified what “it” I was thinking about. Not being an expert in psychology, I look back at those times and wonder how close I might’ve come to starting down a path I couldn’t have left without some outside help, and whether I would’ve sought out that help.

It wouldn’t surprise me if there are friends and family members who’ll read this and be surprised about what I’ve just written. Many of them will have known about the events that triggered those thoughts and feelings, but I suspect I managed to hide at least the extent of them. Its a cliche, but how often do you hear about a person who commits suicide and for those who were closest to be completely shocked and surprised by it? Even if they knew about some of the things going on, the depth of the situation is often unknown.

There were periods in high school where I dreaded going, for reasons as minor to having not done the homework for a subject with a teacher I didn’t like, to needing to avoid groups of other students who were going through a bullying phase with me as seemingly the target. There was a period of time at work where I team I was assigned to had very different ideas about the work and how to do it, leaving me feeling isolated and desperately counting down the minutes and seconds before I could get out.

I’ve been able to come out the other side of those situations, but not everyone can and not everyone did. One of the students from my year group at high school took their own life, as did one of my colleagues from a previous job. Obviously I don’t know what went through their heads in the lead up to those events, but I can guess at least part of it and have at least some small understanding of how they might’ve felt.

Please help me to prevent this sort of thing from happening to others. You can donate to the Movember Foundation here, and of course every donation is greatly appreciated. I also understand that not everyone is in a position to contribute financially to the cause, so I ask that having read this article, that if you’re not able to donate then please share this page with everyone you can. With your help, the Movember Foundation is aiming to reduce the rate of male suicides by 25% by 2030.

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What do you think about all this?