At Neuroanthropology, we’re not above a bit of self-humiliation for a good cause. Along this line, Greg is now participating in MOvember, the annual fund raiser and consciousness builder for men’s health issues. That’s right, Greg’s growing a mo, and, yes, I will be posting photos of my progress.
For those of you unfamiliar with the rise of Movember, it’s the annual effort to raise money for prostate cancer research, depression treatment, and other men’s health problems in November. To take advantage of men’s distinctive physiology in the service of a good cause, participants grow mustaches, starting from a smooth face on 1 November. I’m working on the ‘trucker,’ sometimes referred to as the ‘Chopper’ in Australia (in dubious honour of a famous personality and former convict, Chopper Read).
In particular, this Movember, I’m reminding my students of the problem of men’s psychological health issues, that one in eight men during their lifetime will experience depression, and that we’re not very good at getting the help we need. The lifetime rate is lower in men than women, but men can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat. Recent research has shown that men in a range of walks of life — from doctors to farmers — are just as at risk of depression as everyone else, but reluctant to seek help.
So growing a mustache this month isn’t just about increasing awareness, but also about decreasing the stigma so that men everywhere can find support and treatment when they need it. In addition, because men often get angry or irritable, or drink when depressed, we can mask our symptoms so that they go undiagnosed. The result can be tragic: 80% of suicides in Australia are men. (For more information, check out Beyond Blue’s information page on depression in men.)
Beyond Blue, the exemplary organization in Australia dealing with depression and anxiety, has a webpage detailing the history of Movember, since its founding in 2002. Last year, Mobrothers (and sisters) around Australia donated $9 million to Beyond Blue. This year, the Hon. Jeff Kennett, chair of Beyond Blue, will be sporting a Mo — as if you needed any other reason to think it was a great idea!
If you want to donate, you can go to Greg’s MoSpace Page. I will also be approaching people in person, so if you see a guy who looks like me, only much more shady and hirsute, be prepared to be generous! I won’t put the serious hard sell on you all until I’ve got a substantial trucker to show, and pictures.
Link: On a related note, see our PLoS BLoGs colleague, Emily Anthes’s piece, ‘Dads Get Blue, Too: The problem of postpartum depression in fathers,’ at Slate.
Image credit: Mo recognizance chart from Tramie’s Kitchen blog post, Mo cookies for Movember, where you can also find an excellent recipe and photos of Movember cookies (because everything’s better with cookies!).