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Let's talk men's health this Movember

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Ross_Alumni
Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
edited November 2020 in Coffee lounge

"Men are dying too young. We can't afford to stay silent."

And stay silent we shall not! It's Movember, a movement which has been going since 2003 that encourages people to come together to highlight the health crisis being faced by men worldwide. 

Why is Movember so important?

It's been a challenging year and now more than ever it's important to recognise the struggles we have all been through, particularly isolation and loneliness throughout the pandemic, which have obviously been faced by everyone, not just men. 

Research suggests that on average, men are dying six years younger than women and the Movember movement aims to raise awareness of the three biggest causes of that alarming statistic:
Whether you're growing a fancy moustache this month or taking part in many of the other activities on offer this Movember, it's important to keep in mind why you are doing it and talk about the challenges you and your fellow bros are facing, no matter how big or small.

The idea of not wanting to appear vulnerable, weak or silly is a factor is one reason why men are dying so young. They are less likely to seek support for their mental health, and less likely to get a potential cancer scare checked out at the doctor.

For the sake of men's well being, we need to:

• break down stigma surrounding mental health and cancer
• take the steps to protect and maintain our health by getting ourselves checked out, even if it's only a slight concern
• we need to realise that  vulnerability "is not a weakness, it's a strength."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIRtYP7HVEY

Let's talk about men's health

• Are you okay? Is anything troubling you at all?
• What are your thoughts on the situation regarding men's health?
• Are you growing a moustache? I can never grow a very good one :D

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Comments

  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    My nephew partakes in this every year and I always donate to him 
  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
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    Well done to your nephew @janer1967 :)  I bet he grows a cool looking tache!
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  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community member Posts: 14,982 Disability Gamechanger
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    I don’t do this but I think men’s health is an important topic because there is a lot of focus on women and women’s health, but not so much for men. That said I am not really into gendered stuff at all as I think we should just look after everybody regardless of their gender.

    If it raises money for a good cause though then I am all for it.:smile:
  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi @66Mustang, hope you're doing well today. 

    Absolutely, it's vital to look after each gender with the same amount of care, but I think it's important to have awareness days, weeks and months like this where we focus on a certain issue that might be particularly impacting a group of people.

    It's certainly for a good cause :) 
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  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community member Posts: 14,982 Disability Gamechanger
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    @Ross_Scope you are quite right and I suppose there are issues that affect men but not women and vice versa, so there is somewhat of a need to focus slightly differently on the different genders. :smile:


  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
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    Yep, you're spot on there @66Mustang.
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  • WestHam06
    WestHam06 Community member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,396 Pioneering
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    Thank you @Ross_Scope, it is so important to raise awareness of the health struggles that men face and try to reduce this idea that it is a weakness to seek help for a health need. I know a brilliant young man who seeked support following a difficult period in his life. This young man always says that by seeking help it helped him to rebuild his life in ways he thought not possible. He often shares posts about the importance of sharing things and that you are not weak for asking for help, whatever help this may be. I am immensely proud of him and fully support Movember.  Thank you 
  • WestHam06
    WestHam06 Community member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,396 Pioneering
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    Absolutely love the video, thank you so much for sharing. :) 
  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
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    You must be very proud of that young man you know @WestHam06 :) It's hard to both admit you need some help and actually get the help.

    And you are welcome, I think the story in the video is a shining example of how seeking support can be a huge thing for a man and change their life.
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  • wilko
    wilko Community member Posts: 2,458 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
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    Hello everyone, I find and found most men can’t or won’t talk to their male friends about health, money or personal problems, this is more noticeable in the under 50 year olds while the older generation tend to be more open when talking to friends and health professionals. A lot can be put down to how they where brought up, keeping things private over coming in embarrassment of talking about personal issues. Sometimes you have to take control and say it as it is especially to your health professionals. Responding to your sex life to a female health professional may be a no go for most men but when asked during the process of my diagnosis and afterwards it became an easy subject matter and caused no embarrassment. We men have to get over this issue that stops us or prevents us from getting and receiving a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. 
  • Cher_Alumni
    Cher_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,734 Disability Gamechanger
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    @wilko Yep, I agree.  There's a phrase "don't die of embarrassment" that really sends home the point around people not getting medical help for stigmatised symptoms such as changes in bowel habits. 

    In reality, doctors have seen these symptoms day in, day out and they want to help people.   The fear of doing something can be worse than actually doing it.   This makes it all the more important for us to talk openly about our experiences, to get rid of the taboo and normalise so called embarrassing illnesses.  
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  • WestHam06
    WestHam06 Community member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,396 Pioneering
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    Hi @Ross_Scope
                                  I am so proud of him and to be beside him as he went through the process was very humbling. To see him now makes me realise how far he has come, he is my role model in life, I look up to him so much. It makes me realise how difficult it can be for men and I know together, we must continue to support men to address health issues whatever they may be. Thank you.  
  • leeCal
    leeCal Community member Posts: 7,550 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
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    I had an embarrassing lump and eventually I plucked up the nerve to see my GP about it. Just my luck on that day he had a student with him! However it was past the point of no return. I was sent for a scan. Eventually I was told nothing ‘sinister’ was going on, ie not cancer, and so off I toddled happily with my lump. 

    when you reach the point where even happy moments are overshadowed by the fear that you have a cancer you really must be brave and make that appointment. I highly recommend it. 

    “This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.” 
    ― Dalai Lama XIV

  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 11,381 Scope online community team
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    I agree @wilko and I'm definitely guilty of not talking about my problems, be it health or otherwise. I had a similar experience to @leeCal a few years back and it took much longer than it should have for me to summon the courage to seek advice. I've had some bad experiences with doctors over the years, but actually this time around I encountered a doctor who put me at ease, took my concerns seriously and didn't allow me to downplay the severity of the symptoms as much as I normally would.

    It's really important for men to start talking about their health and I'm glad we're speaking about this so openly here.
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  • WestHam06
    WestHam06 Community member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,396 Pioneering
    edited November 2020
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    Thank you @leeCal and @Adrian_Scope for sharing your experiences with us. 
  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Community member Posts: 2,800 Disability Gamechanger
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    So, I've been weighing up whether or not to join in with this thread over the last few days...which really proves the point about our willingness to talk I guess lol!!

    rfunny - This year thousands of men will die from stubbornness

    Maybe I've just been unlucky but most Doctors that I've seen, particularly the older male ones, aren't interested in mental health issues in young guys.  They just offer a few patronising words of condescension before prescribing anti-depressants (despite trying to explain why I can't take pills (and am not depressed anyway)) and handing over a card for the Wellbeing service, implying a self-referral and that you're wasting their time when they have real patients to deal with.

    I hate talking about mental issues in real life.  I do feel pathetic and stupid even admitting them to myself, let alone anyone else.  I can only assume that comes from upbringing and social conditioning.  It took a huge effort to go to the Doctors about the OCD and IBS when they were no longer manageable and I was skipping college and work etc. I hadn't told any relatives at this point and didn't have any close friends to talk to.  It was the first time I'd forced myself into a Doctors surgery in about 10 years and I was totally disheartened by the experience.  I did eventually try again after many months and with a different Doctor but had the same experience again.  I also find that friends didn't really want to know even if they ask, and definitely didn't understand.  Though to their credit, I did have a few that were very accommodating with my more 'noticeable' issues.  Of course, their accommodation made me feel even more pathetic and guilty.  Sadly, as my problems worsened there wasn't a way to keep accommodating them and as their own lives became busier we've completely grown apart now.  While I support all the charities around mens mental health and suicide prevention, I get frustrated by the notion that it could all be fixed by just talking to a mate.  I wish I did know someone locally with similar issues for a two sided conversation without the pity and exasperation that I get from 'normal' relatives.

    I must admit, I do like seeing more guys on TV discussing health issues, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, sex and other things that would never have been on TV 10 years ago.  Did any of you see the programme with the 2 brothers (think they were from Love Island?) discussing testicular issues a few weeks ago?  Thought it was really interesting myself, despite never having any intention of kids.

    On to physical health, I don't know how well it's taught in schools now, but I really feel we should've been taught more when I was there.  Remember when the boys all got sent out for the girls to hear about 'lady parts'?  Why weren't guys offered something similar?  We were just sent out to an early break!  Sadly, this meant I only found out an issue when I was 21, channel hopping and accidentally landed on Embarrassing Bodies - not a program I ever normally watched - and felt shocked and physically ill after realising it wasn't normal.  I had my suspicions, but have suspicions about so many health issues I never know which ones are worth worrying about.  It was too late to do anything about it by then, due to my mental issues, and is still present now.  It's a ticking time bomb and something (one of many things tbf) that causes me anxiety every day...if I'd known about it when I was at school I might have had more chance at treatment.  Or, I might still have been too embarrassed and too anxious to mention it to anyone, who knows? 

    I also wish there was somewhere online where you could ask questions about 'downstairs' to a specific sexual health team totally anonymously.   For years I've had questions about whether some things are normal or not, but struggle to talk about anxiety and bowel issues, even by written letter, to my GP...there's no chance of me asking questions about that area!

    Lastly, not sure if it's male specific or not, but I do have a strange lump that I wonder if any of you have...  I am very thin, so it's possible that it's normally just covered up in those of you with a belly lol.  It's a small hard lump directly under my lowest left rib, they're almost touching and it's basically at the curve of the rib.  I don't want to know which organ it is, frankly the thought of organs inside my body makes me feel physically ill (hence not Googling it!), I just want to know if it's normal or not.  It's been there for at least 2 years so can't be immediately fatal...  ;)
  • leeCal
    leeCal Community member Posts: 7,550 Disability Gamechanger
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    I don’t know what the lump you describe is @OverlyAnxious but I just wanted to say, over the years  have often felt too weak or shy  to do something I know I really ought to do, including about my lump as described above and I have adopted a saying,
     ‘don’t think, DO!’
     I tell myself to stop thinking it over and over and just do it! That’s what I did when I finally decided to see a GP about my issue. The phrase works for me anyway because I know thinking about something just makes things worse and gets you nowhere, especially with regard to seeing a doctor. 

    “This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.” 
    ― Dalai Lama XIV

  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
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    That's a good saying @leeCal, and I always find that when I'm leaving the GP surgery after going in to discuss something I thought was embarrassing, I end up thinking "what on earth was i worried about?" 

    Now I always keep telling myself that they are trained to deal with the parts of the body that we think might be embarrassing to show to someone else for the purposes of inspection and that they do it on a daily basis. I once apologised to my GP for coming across as nervous, and he acted completely normal and just said it's his job to do these sorts of things and that he hoped he helped relax me.

    Thanks for your contribution @OverlyAnxious, you make so many good points and observations. Regarding that last part, we aren't able to give medical advice so I would suggest visiting your GP if you are concerned.
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  • wilko
    wilko Community member Posts: 2,458 Disability Gamechanger
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    We have to be proactive in are own health care physical or mental health problems. We can find so much about a condition, illnesses and possible treatments. But having a face to face confirmation is so reassuring, it becomes official you now know what’s wrong with and can now move forward with treatment ect,  myself having done a self referral for physio and had 4 phone consultations I requested a face to face assessment, having completed the assessment I was moved onto a different department within two weeks I had an appointment for an MRI and two weeks later my results and diagnosis. Wasn’t good news but I know what could or maybe the options open to the next hospital appointment, I’ve looked on line and this can lead to anxiety knowing the possible side effects. So be open and honest to you doctor, and other HPs as they won’t be embarrassed and understand the **** names we give our body parts.
  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
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    Well said @wilko :) 
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