For more than 20 years now, the awareness and fundraising initiative of Movember has been a feature of the month of November.
When we think of Movember, we think of normally clean-shaven men growing moustaches and beards – and those already sporting facial hair growing theirs even longer and in many instances, to fancy and extravagant new heights.
Australians should embrace Movember as this now worldwide concept started out from humble origins here more than 20 years ago.
What started as an 80-man fundraiser in Adelaide in 1999 gained momentum over the next few years as hundreds of men from around Australia joined in, raising valuable funds and just as importantly, awareness, for prostate cancer research and development.
In 2007, the Movember Foundation was granted official charity status and has since raised close to $200 million across the globe, now also being embraced in places like the USA, South Africa, Britain and Europe.
While raising awareness of prostate cancer and testicular cancer were the initial focuses of Movember, the scope over recent years has expanded to also include mental health and suicide prevention among men.
Indeed, mental health issues and prostate and testicular cancer are now the three major health risks facing males and it’s a sad fact that a man takes his own life somewhere in the world every minute of every day – so over half a million lives annually.
That is why initiatives such as Movember and also Mental Health Month are vital when it comes to raising community awareness.
There has been a perception which is as old as time itself that men are the ‘stronger sex’ …..that they are unbreakable and shouldn’t display their emotions or feelings outwardly.
This theory may have worked fine in years gone by but such is the pressure on men in the 21st century that ‘bottling things up’ and trying to solve work-related, family, relationship, financial and other problems by ‘going alone’ can often end in tears.
According to the Beyond Blue website, on average nine people take their own lives in Australia every day and of those nine, seven are males.
In terms of the building industry, every August, Tradies National Health Month raises awareness of injury and health risks which affect those who work as builders and other tradies and contractors.
Over the past two years, more than a quarter of those working in building and construction in Australia have suffered mental health issues, which is 25 percent more than other Australian men.
There are many reasons why tradies are more likely to suffer stress than those in most other occupations.
Long hours (both on the job and travelling to and from the worksite), tight deadlines, lack of job security (the fact that many tradesmen are self-employed means that work opportunities fluctuate) and the physically demanding nature of the job itself places a lot of tradies under pressure.
And pressure at work can lead to arguments at home, causing conflict and relationship breakdowns.
Yes I Can Renovations is Sydney’s fastest growing and most innovative building company, specialising in quality bathroom, kitchen and full home renovations.
Director Richard Dargham said this week: “Movember is a fantastic initiative as it is not only a great fundraiser but also raises awareness about mental health and other illnesses.
“As this story relates, mental health is a major issue in the building and construction industry in Australia.
“Australian tradesman can make a very comfortable living and good ones are worth their weight in gold, but I do think that tradies are taken for granted by a lot of people.
“A lot of tradies I know went through hell during the lockdown as their work was stopped with absolutely no notice and basically on the whim of the (now ex) Premier.
“Many tradies either lost their jobs or were forced to sit at home for weeks and weeks while the bills piled up….it was an unbelievably stressful time.
“Any initiative which highlights and assists the issue of men’s mental health – not just in the building industry but overall - should be applauded and the concept of Movember is absolutely fantastic in my view.”