Movember - Tackling Big Issues with Small Gestures

Posted on: 22 December 2022 by Lewis Brooke in 2022 posts

Languages students growing moustaches for Movember
Pictured from right to left: Will (German student), Matt (German and History student), Matt (German and French student), Lewis (Music with German student).

A group of LCF students have been growing moustaches throughout November to raise awareness for men's health.

Best Time of Your Life

University is the best time to try new things. You live away from home with your friends, cook for yourself, and involve yourself in extra-curricular activities, all as a young adult. It is also a period of self-determination, where you decide daily which choices will define your identity as an individual.

For many, this time proves to be a huge challenge. The pressure of coursework and essays can inhibit this joy of freedom, as well as causing a great deal of stress. The temperature drops cold as Winter arrives, the sun only seems to last a couple of hours in the sky, and every responsibility feels heavier than the last. Many feel a burden of expectations surrounding university which exacerbates pre-existing anxieties.

The Role of Movember

During the month of November, groups of lads will go to the extraordinary effort of growing out their moustache. This involves clean shaving on the last day of October and maintaining otherwise smooth cheeks and chins for the rest of the month as your wispy lip fluff grows into something bigger than yourself.

As a symbol of the masculine man, the moustache nostalgically represents not only the “toughness” encompassed in the traditional gender role of men, but also the sophistication and style of a respectable gentleman. It is temporary yet permanent: familiar yet exotic; regardless of any complication or insecurity, the moustache expresses a confidence in identity.

But What is Actually the Point?

Movember exists worldwide in order to promote awareness for men’s health, typically involving a charitable sponsorship from family members and friends that funds prostate and testicular cancer research as well as men’s mental health resources. The Movember Foundation was set up in 2003 in Melbourne and has since then raised over £750 million in funding. It is listed as one of the world’s top 100 charities.

Men’s mental health is an issue that receives more and more recognition, but one that to this day still falls victim to stigma (often created by societal expectations and so-called toxic masculinity). According to Mental Health Foundation UK, suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50. Approximately 1 in 8 men suffer from a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or panic-disorder, although it is likely that this figure is an underestimate.

Your University Stress is Relevant

It is thought that 50% of students struggle with mental health during their time at university. It is an insecure time of learning to live by and for yourself. All too often are mental health problems created when feelings are bottled up and ignored. Only by thinking and talking about our emotions can we validate and accept them. We need a regular reminder to take time to ask, “am I okay?”

Thus, we grew out our moustaches. For just one month we get to proudly wear our lip fluff and tell the world “Sometimes life just gets tough”.

Movember serves as a reminder of our responsibility to look out for each other. It is a sign that everyone is fighting their own battles, and that it is okay not to be okay. It represents a plea to reach out if you need help. The moustache is an open letter to one and all that, even though we have never met one another, I have got your back.

You can support our efforts on our Movember fundraising page.

Resources for Further Guidance

Find out more about Movember and how to get involved here.

The Mental Health Foundation website has lots of useful information on men's mental health.

For resources designed specifically to support student mental health, see the Mind website.

Access support from the University of Liverpool here.