Is The Movember Movement Enough?

Mental Health

November is the annual global month that is aimed at raising awareness of men’s mental health, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer. Of late, Men’s Health is in a crisis, especially with the recent pandemic of Covid 19. In the African society, males find themselves grappling with antiquated ideas of gender to the extent that it has been made “a taboo” that men do not speak out when experiencing feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety. It is seen or regarded as not part of being “a man”. It is these societal expectations and traditional gender roles that have influenced most men not to express their feelings and finding it hard to seek mental health assistance.

The suicide rate in Zimbabwe has been soaring at an alarming rate. According to statistics most of the cases are from men. According to the Worlds Population Reviews of 2022, Zimbabwe’s suicide rate is at 14.1% with the male rate at 20% and the female rate at 8.8%. Many people are going through societal pressures making them vulnerable to suicidal tendencies. Stress is becoming chronic to the extent that many people fail to have coping mechanisms. Mental health professionals have attributed the rise in suicide due to the lack of awareness of the availability of services that provide counseling and psychological help.

“Most suicide cases are dominated by men owing to the belief that a macho man should bottle things up even if social pressures are affecting them.”

What I have come to realize is that mental health issues take time. Affected individuals need to focus on their mental issues and should make them a priority in their day-to-day life. It is very important to surround yourself with people who understand you. There is need for one to first realize that they are not okay and open up to people they are comfortable with.

Males with depression may exhibit higher levels of anger, aggression, and irritability, or showcase their distress in other “culturally acceptable” ways. Females with depression may display signs of low mood instead.

Matthew Boland, Men’s Mental Health: “Man up” is not the answer.
Okay Not To Be Okay: Marshmello, Demi Lovato

Prostate Cancer

With the turn of the century, prostate cancer has become one of leading cancer and cause of death, Prostate cancer is a chronic disease that also affects Zimbabwean men. Ironically, the awareness and comprehension awareness of the disease has been misconstrued. According to research by Paul Musarurwa, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among Zimbabweans after cervical cancer. It is the leading malignancy among black men contributing to 22.5% of all male cancers. Between 2006-2015, prostate cancer cases increased by 218% from 205 to 651. In 2016 it was the leading cause of mortality due to malignancies.

Men’s mental health and prostate cancer are important issues that often get overlooked. There is a need for awareness that would change the outdated way of thinking that seeking help is a weakness. Although the Movember Movement is a month to break the stigma around men’s mental health and prostate cancer, is it enough to address these issues?