(intro) As the leading charity tackling men’s mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer on a global scale, Movember is helping to make change happen as Harper Sercombe discovered.
Men’s health is in crisis. Globally, men die on average four and a half years earlier than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable.
In its mission to stop men dying too young, Movember funds groundbreaking health projects, uniting experts from all over the world to accelerate research, progress and change.
Year-round, Movember is hard at work raising funds and awareness, culminating in a month-long annual moustache-growing event in the month formerly known as November.
The month of Movember is globally recognised for its fun, disruptive approach to fundraising and the unique ways it prompts men to take action for their health.
This Movember, Melburnians across the city’s north-west are banding together in support for men and their wellbeing.
Globally, on average one man dies by suicide every minute of every day and in Australia over six men die by suicide each day.
While these are confronting statistics, they are more then merely numbers to those who have lost loved ones or friends like Ronald Findlay, who this Movember is helping to raise money with the Broadmeadows Broncos Basketball Association.
This is Mr Findlay’s first time growing a moustache for men’s health and while he said it may not look as good as he was hoping, the message behind it makes it all worthwhile.
“I’m really proud to be involved, there’s been a few incidents as of late, where it’s really shone a light on how much of a good cause this is,” he said.
“I’ve grown this dodgy moustache and it’s not very good but I’m trying my best, and it’s for a good cause.
“I’ve had a couple of people take their lives recently, people who I’m pretty close to.
“A good mate that I’ve known for 20 years and I played football with, he was a work colleague and he took his own life. It was the worst thing in the world. He was a 46-year-old man with three kids and a great wife.
“I went to his funeral recently and there were 1600 people there and I had blokes covered in tattoos standing next to me crying.
“There was another incident with someone else that was dealing with the pressures in life and took their life.
“I’m around 50 and these guys were in their high 40s. It’s just really sad. And I wasn’t used to that, it hasn’t been a big part of my life, seeing mates like that, do things like that, it really hit home.”
Raising money and awareness as a part of a team helps spread the message of connection and looking out for each other that Movember preaches.
Those who can’t grow a moustache can do their part via activities such as running, walking and cycling, to help push the message.
“A lot of the girls [at the Broncos] stood up and did it as part of the team,” Mr Findlay said.
“Some of those girls are nurses and they see a lot of the stuff around raising awareness for prostate cancer and suicide.
“But as we know, men don’t tend to talk about this stuff.
“One of the other guys in the group, Matt Pitt, did it because I told him about my stories.
“Another club like Craigieburn have recently had people who have been involved in some incidents as well with people dealing with mental health.
“It gets the awareness out to the club, and the kids see me coaching… and they have a bit of a laugh at my moustache and I explain that I’m doing Movember. It just builds more and more awareness.
“And it’s not just about the adults, it’s also about the kids getting a better understanding of what we’re doing and why.”
To date the Broncos have raised just over $2000 of their $5000 goal.
“If we got to five grand that would be awesome,” he said.
“It’s a good thing for Broady and for me personally.”
It’s not just local sporting clubs that are doing their part to raise funds and awareness for the cause with star Essendon ruckman Sam Draper also tackling Movember in 2023.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the 25-year-old has committed to the charity, after raising more than $13,000 since 2019.
For Draper, the charity is one that resonates personally.
“I’ve been part of Movember for a few years now and I love what they are about. It’s a movement for guys to look after their health and go beyond the banter, to have open conversations about their mental and physical well being,” Draper said.
“Within my profession there can be a lot of mental adversity. It’s a high pressure environment and it can be very challenging at times, so it’s super important for myself and my teammates to look after our mental health.
“I do know there are a lot of guys who suffer in silence, and the stigma has been changing in a more positive trend, but I believe we still have a long way to go.”
Draper’s fundraising goal is $5000, after raising $6375 in 2022.
To donate to Draper or Mr Findlay and the Broncos head to au.movember.com/donate/ and search for their names.
If you or someone you know is dealing with mental health issues and needs to speak with someone immediately, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
If you’re ever worried that someone’s life is in immediate danger, call 000 or go directly to emergency services.