Our Business Development Manager Reet Sen is growing a moustache this month in honour of Movember Foundation, a charity which supports men’s physical and mental health. Reet tells us why he’s taken up the challenge and what Movember means to him.
How would you describe Movember to someone who hasn’t heard of it?
It’s a fun and charitable concept created by the Movember Foundation. It’s organised to raise funds to support research into men’s physical and mental health.
There are two ways you can participate. Firstly, you can sign up online and grow your moustache for the whole month. You can create your own profile on the Movember website and people can visit the page and sponsor you.
The second way is to do something active every day for the whole month. You can log these activities day-by-day on your profile.
What’s the aim of the Movember Foundation?
The foundation raises money for three areas: research for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health. These are topics which, for several reasons, many men struggle to speak about openly.
The aim of the foundation is to create a safe environment where men feel encouraged to have conversations about these topics, speak to their friends openly and feel comfortable to see a doctor if necessary.
Why is it important to raise awareness for men’s physical and mental health?
In the past, there haven’t always been visible charities raising funds and awareness for men’s health. So Movember fills a gap and gets communities involved to instigate change.
There’s always been a stigma surrounding prostate and testicular cancers. This stigma makes many men reluctant to talk to a doctor or friends. A lot of it is to do with the stiff upper lip culture that society has imposed on men, where it’s almost seen as a weakness to speak about their internal struggles.
There’s a lot of stigma surrounding mental health, as well. In the UK, in 2012 it was found that men are three times more likely than women to commit suicide. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 40.
What inspired you to take part in Movember?
Most people I know don’t need to worry about basic needs: food, shelter, clean water. Therefore, what they do worry about is finding purpose, their relationships, and what other people think of them.
It’s incredibly easy to compare yourself to other people. If you start benchmarking yourself against other people, it’s easy to enter a downward spiral where you never feel good enough.
I know people who have been caught in this kind of vicious cycle, and I’ve been there myself. Being reluctant to talk about these things has a negative impact on your physical and mental health. It’s detrimental to your sleep habits, your focus, your performance at work and the way in which you treat other people. I’ve been there and I want to do my bit to help other people who may be in the same position.
You’ve challenged yourself to do something active every day of the month. Give us an example
It could be something as vigorous as a full-blown workout, or it could be a simple 30-minute walk. It encourages you to drop whatever else you have on, get out of the house and do something physical, whatever the weather. It encourages you to prioritise exercise, which, of course, benefits your own mental and physical health.
I’m also doing the Greenwich London Morunners run on 27 November at Greenwich Park. That will be a good way to meet other people involved with Movember and rally for the cause together.
Do strangers notice your moustache and ask you about Movember?
Yes. I had that today, actually! It’s a great icebreaker. And that’s the point, really. It’s to start conversations about men’s physical and mental health in a fun and positive way.
What do you hope to achieve by taking part in Movember this year?
My goal is to raise £500 pounds. I’m going to match all donations by 20% this year. It’s a good opportunity for anyone who wants to get behind a good cause, and potentially send me broke!
Help Reet reach his goal by donating here.