Each year throughout the month of November, men all over the world are brought together by what has become one of the most important movements for men, Movember.
Beyond the fun of growing moustaches, hosting a mo-ment, or moving for Movember, there is an incredibly important message behind this and that’s to change the way we look at men’s health. Men are unnecessarily suffering and dying far too young, due to suicide, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer and this is the time to take a stand. This month is a chance to learn, grow and change the way we interact as men and to help normalize talking about our health and not just for this month, but for the other 335 days of the year as well.
One of the most prevalent examples of where men are struggling is when it comes to talking about their mental health. As a society boys are taught from a young age that they shouldn’t cry, that they need to be tough, or they shouldn’t act like a girl. This sends a very clear message to them that tears and emotions are only for females. This creates an environment and culture of judgement from male peers when they see each other showing emotion as this has been conditioned into them as the appropriate response for the situation. As boys grow into men and life gets harder, so many men struggle with these emotions and have no idea how they should react or respond when they are feeling this way. Because of how we treat men in this regard, it creates a barrier and a negative stigma when it comes to accessing the necessary services and help they need and therefore they are less likely to seek help all together.
Globally, there is an estimated 264 million people that are diagnosed with depression. Although it is absolutely devastating that there are so many people that are struggling every day, it does show that having these feelings is a very common reality for people of all ethnicities and socio-economic groups. With such high numbers of people suffering from depression, suicide becomes an inevitable byproduct with around 800,000 deaths per year. Of these deaths, men are 1.7 times more likely to commit suicide than females and in a large number of regions, including the United States, men are around 4 times as likely to commit suicide. What is interesting to note however is these statistics are disproportionate. Woman are diagnosed with depression at a ratio of 2:1. This would suggest that there is a significant group of men that are left undiagnosed because they are less likely to seek help or the onset of their symptoms may present differently and therefore they do not get the support and treatment they need.
Recognizing mental illness
Spotting a mental illness can be very difficult because there are so many different conditions, from anxiety and depression to psychotic and substance abuse disorders. Every person exhibits symptoms in a different way and because of this, two people with the same condition may act in a completely different way from each other. Fortunately there are some universal behavioral indicators that although they don’t tell us the full story, they’re a good start to helping someone we think might be in need.
• Feeling sad or down
• Confused thinking or reduced concentration
• Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
• Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
• Withdrawal from friends and activities
• Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
• Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
• Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
• Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
• Problems with alcohol and drug use
• Major changes in eating habits
• Excessive anger, hostility or violence
• Suicidal thinking
How can I help?
Approaching someone that you think may be suffering from mental illness can be uncomfortable and difficult and this is fueled largely by our lack of knowledge of the topic, and that’s okay. We aren’t trained to be experts, nor do we need to be. We have one of the most powerful tools of support and that is just listening and engaging in conversation with the person. In these safe spaces, we can then determine if the person needs more help than we are able to offer and then we can talk with them to seek out additional support and services needed.
We have a real opportunity to make a difference in the lives of men and that starts with changing the way we interact and view what it means to be a man. It’s okay to be upset, it’s okay to hurt and it’s most definitely okay to cry. There is nothing weak about showing emotion because it is a completely natural part of being human. During the month of Movember if you’re in a position to donate to all the many life changing initiatives that are in place, please do so. Or at the very least, ask a man in your life how they are.
This year we have been fortunate enough to team up with Hunt with Heart, a non-profit organization based in Texas that creates unforgettable outdoor experiences for young people that are suffering from life-threatening illnesses. If you would like to find out more about how you can help make a difference in the lives of boys and girls like Isaac, please check out the Hunt with Heart website.
At RPB, protecting people for life’s best moments is at the centre of everything we do. We believe in this wholeheartedly and this drives us as a business to support and help people in whatever ways we can.
It has been our greatest pleasure to sponsor Isaac this year and help him have an experience of a lifetime with this amazing organization along with all the other brave young boys and girls that have been involved. You’re a real legend Isaac, and your mother is so proud of the strong man you are!
A message from Isaac's mother:
“Thank you for this opportunity for my son and his friends. We have been a part of this organization since 2014, when my son attended one of there ‘Camp Beaver Creek’ events. We’ve attended the clay shoot every year since and have thoroughly enjoyed it. My son, Isaac, was born naturally and had no signs of distress until he was 9 days old. That’s when his never-ending nightmare began. At 2 weeks old, he had his first open-heart surgery. Two months later he endured an emergency open-heart surgery, which he was able to make it till age 5, before he had another open-heart surgery. In addition to all of this, my husband, his father, died that year as well. The following year, he was diagnosed with a hip deficiency, which required replacement, which then lead into an upper leg surgery required another year later. Over the years, he’s had several more heart procedures and every two years has a heart catheterization to check for any obstructions, which in 2015 found another serious issue, leading to his 11th heart procedure over his short lifetime. He’s had to be resuscitated several times during these procedures, we thought we lost him many times over the years, but he keeps fighting. I call him my miracle and I pray every day I get to keep him around for a long time.
Normally, at these events, the kids act as just a celebrity member of a team, who walks around with them and hangs out. While he’s always enjoyed doing that, this year, with your gift, he was able to be a full member of a shooting team, being one of the ‘men’ and shoot in the event with his peers. Isaac is a what we call a forever patient at Texas Children’s Hospital, due to his problems are very different from standard heart disease, and he’s tried his entire life to fit in and feel “normal”. Yesterday on our way home from the event, he told me he felt whole for the first time and it brought tears to my eyes. He didn’t have to talk about his medical history or answer questions, he got to be one of the boys and just enjoy the day having fun with his friends. His most enjoyable moment was being able to teach one of his friends how to shoot because he had never done this before. I just wanted you to know how much we appreciate your support and how it’s touched our lives. Donations such as yours, do so much more than just pay for things Hunt with Heart does for our kids, it opens up doors that would normally be closed shut forever. Our financial situation has been rocky to say the least, so with the opportunities given to us by you and this wonderful organization, we’re blessed to take part in them, and have come to know and love everyone. Thank you for giving our kids such an awesome day, they will forever be grateful and I can promise you the smile he’s had on his face the last couple days does more for me than I’ll ever be able to express or repay. God Bless You!”
Each year RPB staff join forces for Movember to bring awareness to issues that plague men's health. Some of us are growing (or trying to grow) great mos, while others are making it their mission to move. How can you help? Click below and show your support for Movember by donating to the movement.Learn more
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Welcome to GVS-RPB. We are the respiratory protection specialists, dedicated to protecting people for life‘s best moments.