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Student groups mobilise for Movember cause

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Chris Taylor (l) and Richard Millar (r) of the Grumpy Youngish Men group, Image: Grumpy Youngish Men

As November starts, the campaign to raise awareness for men's health kicks off nationwide and on campus. The Movember Foundation is a charity that focuses on raising awareness of both illnesses and mental health issues that affect the global male population.

Grumpy Youngish Men, a student charitable organisation, are running a month of fundraising and awareness activities for Movember, begining by shaving together in the Halifax common room JJ's on 1 November. They have organised over 19 events with more to be confirmed on their Facebook page, with everything from the usual fundraising events such as coffee mornings and raffles to the more bizarre. On the 29 November at 1AM, they are due to abseil down a University building (with the location yet to be announced). Their motivation for these events, according to their donation page, is to start the conversation regarding men's mental health and "save lives".

Ollie Martin, a third year Electronic Engineering with Music Technology Systems and Halifax student, is the student ambassador for York. He described the month's aim as "changing the face of men's health, fundraising to support the biggest health issues faced by men: mental health, testicular cancer, and prostate cancer.

"Movember supports groundbreaking cancer research, survivor support networks, mental health services and has funded over 1200 men's health projects around the world. By 2030 we'll have reduced the number of men dying prematurely by 25 per cent."

While optimistic regarding its future, the foundation remains aware of the task at hand. 78 per cent of male deaths under the age of 45 are due to suicide, with university campuses across Britain in the midst of a mental health crisis being a good starting point for the Movember campaign.

Martin described the easiest way to get involved, stating "The classic custom is, of course, to shave clean on 1 November and then grow your best moustache throughout the month (no beards) raising as much money as possible."

Martin also offered advice for any people less inclined to grow a moustache: "For those who are follicly challenged on their upper lip, there are plenty of ways to take part - such as taking part in active challenges ("Move-vember"). Lots of people give themselves a distance to run throughout Movember, which as well as a being great way to fundraise, physical exercise is also an amazing way to improve your overall health. But frankly any fundraising ideas are fantastic."

Grumpy Youngish Men, following a similar train of thought, are also running activities such as samba, boxing, and badminton to raise money for the Movember Foundation.

Community and Wellbeing Officer Mia Shantana ChaudhuriJulyan told Nouse: "Raising awareness of all health issues, including men's mental health, is extremely important and needed. Generating open conversations among young people about their wellbeing as a whole is vital and I completely support groups of students taking part in Movember or in any other way with this aim.

"Every single one of us has a part to play in making our community, regardless of gender, one where wellbeing is a priority and something we can all talk about and seek support from each other."

In his official capacity as the York student ambassador for the Movember Foundation, when asked what his personal hope for the month would be, Ollie Martin stated "It would be amazing to see as many people taking part as possible. I think it's easy to be put off by growing a moustache, but everyone looks creepy, it's only for a month and it's an amazing talking point!"

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