Ever notice that more men are sporting beards around Thanksgiving? No-Shave November is likely at the root of it. It’s a movement that encourages men to put down their razors for an entire month in order to raise awareness for men’s health issues like mental wellness. In recent years, it’s been a hugely successful movement, raising millions for research and opening a dialogue among participants.
But, there’s still quite a way to go in supporting men’s psychological issues. Men’s mental health is a growing epidemic in America that’s often shrouded in silence. Seventy-five percent of suicides are committed by men, which means a man takes his own life every 20 minutes in the U.S. Experts believe that our culture is often to blame, citing a focus on hypermasculinity and mental toughness that often looks down on men and boys who need help or want to talk about their emotions.
It’s important for all of us to work toward breaking the stigmas around men’s mental health in order to help everyone lead healthier, happier lives. Here are some different ways you can help support men’s mental wellness this No-Shave November, and all year.
Talk with your loved ones
Checking in with male friends and family members is one of the best ways you can support their mental health. It encourages them to open up and shows your love and availability for them?– something that most depression or anxiety sufferers need to know. Start a conversation by asking open-ended questions like, “How have you been feeling recently?” or “You haven’t seemed like yourself, are things okay?” Then, reaffirm your commitment to them by telling them you’re there to listen and love them no matter water. Finally, be sure to point him in the direction of additional resources like local counselors or support groups.
It’s also important, however, to keep in mind that many people suffering from mental health issues are too afraid to reach out or are in denial when it comes to acknowledging their symptoms. Be on the lookout for signs of struggles so you can be proactive in helping them. Signs of depression and anxiety, for example, may include social withdrawal, irritability, insomnia, and even sexual dysfunction like erectile dysfunction. Of course, these symptoms don’t always indicate a mental illness, but if you notice a pattern of unusual behavior, it may be time to ask him how he’s feeling.
In order to support the cause or a specific loved one who is struggling with mental health issues, it’s crucial that you stay educated on the latest news surrounding the topic. New findings on signs and effective treatments are constantly being published and are critical in providing clarity, hope, and understanding for both you and your loved ones who might be struggling– not to mention the ability to spread awareness to others.
There are plenty of ways to learn more about mental health and the issues that men face specifically. Consider reading up on anxiety and depression (the two most common mental illnesses that men face), as well as other common men’s mental health issues like eating disorders, addiction, and bipolar disorder. Staying up to date is vital in helping connect you with struggling loved ones and break down harmful stigmas.
Try out some fun and different ways to raise both funds and awareness for this extraordinary cause. Get the whole community involved by organizing a fundraiser like a bake sale, car wash, arts and crafts fair, or fun run. This will not only raise funds for much-needed mental health programs and educational materials, but it will also help normalize men’s mental health concerns and boost overall awareness.
There are several organizations that work to improve the research and stigma around men’s mental health that would benefit from any support you can give. No-Shave November and the similar organization, Movember, are two of them, but there are many others with the same mission. If you’re able, check out these nonprofits that support men’s mental health education and services and discover how you can give to them, whether that be by donating financially or volunteering:
Grow out your hair!
What better way to support No-Shave November’s intent than by not shaving? If you’re a first-time non-shaver and need help figuring out how to wrangle your beard or care for your skin underneath the hair, check out this informative guide from Hims, which gives tips on how to care for your facial hair at every stage of the month. (Or, if you want to read more about men’s grooming tips, check out the informational articles collected on Hims’ Twitter.)
Participating in No-Shave November doesn’t just have to involve facial hair, however; both men and women are encouraged to join the cause! If you aren’t able to grow a beard, simply put aside your grooming routine for a month (whether that means buying razors, attending waxing sessions, or scheduling hair appointments) and donate the money you would have spent to one of the previously mentioned organizations. You might be surprised how much it all adds up and how it could make a real difference in the lives of others.
How will you support men’s mental health?