Movember – Raising Awareness of Men’s Health
Interview with James Brooker, the Swansea University Movember Ambassador
By Lauren Stodolnic
Lauren: Hi James, so what is Movember?
James: We are the leading charity changing the face of men’s health. We are changing the silence on men’s health, bringing focus on this crucial topic and helping people change their lives.
L: How did it start?
J: Movember started in 2003, two friends in Australia found 30 blokes willing to grow a moustache for the entire month. Year by year, more and more Mo Bro’s and Mo Sister’s joined the cause, each year expanding the charity.
J: From humble beginnings, the Movember movement has grown into a truly global one. We’ve made epic progress in men’s health, but every whisker of credit goes to our Mo Bro’s and Mo Sister’s around the world – five million people since 2003.
L: How did Movember become a global movement?
J: Since 2007, Movember has been expanding all over the world and changing the story on men’s health. In 2019, countries that participated include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.
J: Movember’s success can largely be attributed to the strength of the global community. Regardless of the city in which we live, we’re part of something bigger, united by a commitment to help change the face of men’s health.
L: What are the main issues that Movember brings awareness to?
J: Mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer
L: What have students at Swansea University been doing to promote awareness of the movement?
J: Students at Swansea Uni have been doing everything they can within this current climate. This year, at Swansea university we have tried to get as many societies and sports clubs to participate, with currently 786 members from 54 different Movember teams. Fundraising has been different this year, many clubs have taken part in our new Make A Move, where you move 60km during November. 60km because we lose 60 men to suicide each hour every hour.
J: Many moustaches have been grown across campus for Movember, promoting awareness with every participant. Social media use has promoted awareness of Movember drastically, either our university’s Movember page @swanseaunimovember or personal pages where students share their personal fundraising and Movember awareness.
L: How much money has been raised?
J: This year, Swansea University has raised over £48,500 as a collective, ranking us 6th place amongst universities; while also having travelled 17,655Km to complete Make A Move. Each society has raised a massive amount of money all going to an unbelievable cause. Swansea Uni Men’s Rugby Union are leading the way with £7,000 raised, with the Swansea Sirens raising £6,850 as well.
L: Where is the money going?
J: Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men.
L: How can we start the conversation and education of men’s health?
J: Starting the conversation about men’s health is the hardest step to take, however, there are many ways to discuss male health. Movember provides many different support options, varying from immediate support (NHS -111 / text Crisis to 85258) to more general support lines. However, to start the conversation is to talk to your mates and check in on them, mental health is hard to see, so make sure you speak and see your friends.
J: If you would like to educate yourself more on men’s health, check out the Movember website, it has multiple stories from people who have opened up about their experiences to men’s health
L: Do you think the tagline ‘changing the face of men’s health’ is being achieved?
J: The work by Movember is truly changing the face of men’s health. Movember is becoming a significant movement within Universities. Each university raises their money in different ways. Movember is becoming one of the most recognisable charities in today’s world, seeing a Moustache within November is promoting Movember, seeing all forms of facial hair on different types of people as well as the consistent use of promoting on social media. Men’s health is being focused on and talked about; it no longer is something which is being kept in the dark, and with more people joining each year the movement will only increase.
L: How can people get involved with Movember next year?
J: The best way to get involved would be to contact your sports/society club captain within the University as they will have information on their teams Movember. However, you can join the overall University challenge as an individual. All you have to do is go to the Movember website page and follow the link to join. Movember is associated with the month November however, the charity still works through-out the year and is always looking to raise more money for men’s health.
L: What are some resources available for people who are concerned about their own or a friend’s health?
J: The Movember website provides all forms of support options you need. If you are concerned about yourself, the best option is to find someone to talk to, either your family, friends, work colleagues, sports team or someone within your university. The University Wellbeing department are great to talk to as everything is kept within confidence and is a safe space. If you are concerned about a friend, make sure you check up on them. A message of reassurance can change someone’s perspective on themselves. To look into this further, Movember has a dedicated page on their website to help you find support