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Mucho Mo Bros

The Movember Awards Winners

Mental Health

Full report from The Movember Awards which celebrated some incredible people raising funds and awareness for men's physical and mental health.

Glitz, glamour, booze, awards and a flock of moustaches…yes, it was all present and correct at the very first Movember Awards, where the great and the good gathered to celebrate the men’s health charity.

Presented by TV star and Mo’ ambassador Matt Johnson, the ceremony was about handing awards to remarkable people who have raised funds for the charity and awareness of issues facing men, primarily testicular and prostate cancer, and mental health. The invention of the fund raising and dedication to the causes, was inspiring, but also simply the sheer number of people from all walks of life who are supporting men’s issues like this was truly amazing, and a mark (we hope) of increasing understanding in society for the emotional needs of men.

Here are the winners of the awards, who stopped to talk to The Book of Man to tell us about their feats and give their thoughts on the future of men’s health.

Chris Minck, Fine Growth award winner

I’ve been doing Movember for nine years, which started as a joke by one of my friends but then I sort of stuck with it, and started dyeing my moustache to try and raise more funds, which has become a running thing now. Once Movember started bringing in the mental health aspect of it, it became even closer to my heart because I have dealt with depression over the years. Anything I can do to raise awareness, have a conversation, and I’m lucky to be in a role where I know a lot of people who can donate generously to Movember, and I’ve helped raise quite a bit of money for them. But even just to make people laugh around the office is great, going into a meeting with clients and having your moustache dyed half pink, half-purple. The best moustache design was a tiger stripe. The worst was polka dots which I tried to do myself and it looked horrific. My sister is the one who usually paints my moustache for me but she hasn’t been around for a couple of years – I’ve had to stick with very simple patterns.

H2Mo Dulwich Prep, Going the Distance award winner

Teacher representing the class: ‘The team of kids organised a 24 hour Swimathon at Dulwich prep, where they have a pool. They brought in everybody, parents, teachers, the groundsmen, a couple of people from Movember at the end, they turned it into a huge community event and they raised nearly £100,000.

Interestingly the kids brought up before the campaign that they wanted to do something purposeful for mental health. It’s devastating they’re not here!

Niall Blake-Knox, Havin’ Fun Doin’ Good award winner

I’m from Belfast and unfortunately last year one of my best friends took his own life. In my group of friends that brought about an outpouring about how could this have happened and what is wrong with men’s mental health. We thought we were in the closest people on the planet earth and realising that appearances aren’t everything and what can we do to make it better. We started doing a Movember fundraising campaign started out with as simple growing a moustaches for the month, then culminated in a pub quiz. We got together about 350 Irish people in London for a pub quiz and on the night raised over £6000 and over the course of our one month campaign we raised £26,000. But the best thing was just meeting all the people who got in touch with us saying this has inspired me to have a conversation with my mate  or to reach out to someone.

One of the best things that’s happened is me and three of my best friends started a Whatsapp group which we call the mental health group. All men have that lads Whatsapp group which is about having banter and slagging each other off, but we’ve created another group which is solely for mental health. Once a week you have a check in where every one of us has to send a voice note, limited to two minutes, to talk about your mental health. You hold each other accountable for checking in, and you’re not allowed to cross that line of banter. It’s a very safe space and it’s been the best thing that ever happened to me. And it’s just a shame that my friend who took his own life wasn’t in that group.

Stewart Morgan, Know Thy Nuts award winner

On the 22nd October I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which was four days after my 21st birthday and on the day of my mum and dads 25th wedding anniversary. It was a huge shock to me, a fit and healthy guy, but it’s a cancer that, if caught early, is treatable. So I wanted to raise money for Movember but also to use social media and my university’s platform to raise awareness about regular check-ups.

Men’s health is such a sensitive subject and a lot of men won’t speak about it. But with Movember having such a huge presence with so many thousands of people taking part in it each year that it encourages men to speak out when they need to and check themselves. It gives them a bit of confidence that there’s more people behind you, backing you up.

Pete Sparrow and the Wiltshire constabulary, Team Movember award winners.

We are a team of police officers and we we’ve been raising money for Movember for about five years. For us it’s really about trying to shine a light on mental health, and cancer, within the emergency services. The amount of issues that affect people in the emergency services is critical and its important people understand they have got to talk about it otherwise they’re going to suffer.

Dan Drummond, Rookie of the Year award winner

I originally set out with the task of trying to raise a thousand pounds with some stupid photos I took of myself, and I set it up so that the more money I raised the more new photos were unlocked. Within three days I’d used all my photos and so to keep raising money I spent money on freelancers to photoshop my face onto film posters like Machete and Nacho Libre.

It’s amazing to see how much Movember have raised, and how many different ways people have raised it. I’ve met some incredible people doing incredible things, I’ve met people doing 13 hour fitness challenges, people cycling to Japan…all I did was show a bit of facial hair and take some stupid photos. I mean one of them was of me naked but still…I’m sure the guy who cycled to Japan would have preferred to take one naked photo.

I think humility is the hardest challenge for men, I think being willing to ask your friends, ‘sorry buddy is there something wrong?’ you don’t want to be that guy, you just want to be the bloke cracking jokes buying rounds, but it’s about overcoming that masculinity and accepting that humility is what keeps men going.

Fergus Crawley, Inspiration award winner

I suffered from depression for two years and ultimately attempted to take my own life in May 2016. As a result of that I’ve learned how powerful communication can be. I don’t want a single person, whether I like them or not, to go through an experience like I did. I want to give people who are struggling a voice and stick my neck out that little bit further to show solidarity in what we’re all going through and how powerful sharing your story can be, however insignificant you think it is.

The disconnect of physical and mental health in the UK is something that really needs to be tackled. With Movember they really fight against class, against politics, against whatever, to bring men together and take better care of themselves.

The mental health and suicide statistics have got worse but in many ways society has got much better, people are making more of an effort and its really encouraging to see. I think the more that individuals can take a stand and the more that Movember, CALM, Mind can really vocalise what needs to be done, the more of a change we can have, and work against the issues that society spits out at us.

Susie Spyropoulos, Mo Sista award winner

I’m a teacher at Bedford School and I launched the fundraising and awareness campaign amongst the boys. The older boys then led the team and they teach each other about mental and physical health issues, they make videos for YouTube, they’ve raised £75,000 pounds, they’re fantastic.

The boys we have teaching are the 17 and 18 year olds, and they teach the 16 year olds about testicular cancer, and they teach the 14 and 15 year olds about mental health issues. They go into other school as well and do assemblies. To have boys who have had serious issues to get up on a stage to tell other boys about it, shows things are changing, and it is becoming more acceptable for them to open up with each other.

James Martin, Change Agent award winner

Throughout Movember I ran 84 kilometres each week, because we lose 84 men each week to suicide. We don’t want to talk about it, we don’t want to open up about our emotions, and what I really wanted to do was run with people. I wanted to run side by side with people to talk about this, and it’s amazing that people will talk when you don’t have to look in their eyes. It takes the pressure off conversation.

We need to get rid of that man up message. Getting rid of idea where we have to be in control of everything, we have to be the best at everything. Instead we have to make sure we are the person who shows other people that sometimes we can be weak, sometimes we aren’t in control, sometimes actually if we embrace our emotions we are stronger for it.

I think there are people in the media who are still ridiculing men for showing emotions, for some seeing a man crying is still the most appalling thing they’ve ever seen. There is a willingness to talk more about it, but I don’t think the actual action is changing enough.

Mike Maloney, Service to the Mo award winner

I had prostate cancer six years ago, and had my prostate taken out, and became a poster boy for early detection. I started growing a moustache the following Movember, and since then I’ve been doing things with Movember, I speak and I help raise awareness and I help raise money, for the extraordinary things that they do. My inspiration is my son, I put his life in their hands to stop him going through what I had to go through.

There’s been some high profile prostate cancer examples like Stephen Fry, Bill Turnbull, but I think what Movember are doing is crucial just to make people be aware. They fund a lot of treatment but awareness it crucial when it comes to early detection, it is so so important; if you can have a little walnut shaped thing taken out of your body, job done, and if not then you have cancer in your body and that’s life limiting. Awareness is huge, it is getting better but there’s a lot of still to be done.

 

Visit Movember for more information on the work they do year-round…

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