Movember evokes images of artfully styled mustaches, and overgrown beards for the sake of raising awareness for men’s health. Channeling that same mustached spirit, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Center for Awareness, Response, and Education (CARE) are collaborating to give Movember a bit of a different spin. Everyone is still encouraged to grow out their ‘staches and beards in No-Shave November fashion, but Northwestern’s Movember strives to raise awareness for men’s wellness and mental health.
Recent attention to a feud between rappers Drake and Kid Cudi centered on this issue. Drake dissed Kid Cudi for weakness and using medication after Cudi opened up about checking himself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. This high profile example shows how men seeking mental health help is often stigmatized, limiting discussion. A hashtag #YouGoodMan encouraged men, especially young black men, to feel more comfortable discussing mental health.
To help reduce this sort of stigma, CAPS will host several programs, covering topics from body image and masculinity to looking closer at men’s relationships (romantic and friendships), to discussing masculinity, race, and identity (Delete intersexuality – we do not talk about this). As a first year pilot program, Movember’s goal is to raise awareness of men’s issues and debunk the myths of masculinity that are often so pervasive in today’s culture.
The Movember program aims to erase the stigma of men showing so-called “weakness” by reaching out for aid. As CAPS psychologist Monika Gutkowska noted, “Men have the highest suicide rate and have a hard time reaching out. If this month is successful, we can do even more for this issue in the future.”
Official Movember events are as follows:
Ripped, Buff, Toned, Swole, Bulking, Cutting, Losing Control: Men, Body Image, and Disordered Eating (Tuesday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m., Henry Crown Sports Pavilion 1310):
· This event will examine the relationship between perceived masculinity and body image, discussing the pressure men feel to conform to a certain body type. CAPS staff and a Certified Personal Trainer will facilitate this discussion.
Hooking Up 101 (Thursday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m., Kresge Hall 2425):
· Explore every aspect of “hooking up” from alcohol to physical boundaries, this popular presentation can inform your perspective on a night at Nevins or the Deuce.
“I Love You, Man!” (Wednesday, November 16 at 7:00 pm., Annenberg Hall G21):
· CARE present “I Love You, Man!”, tackling male friendships and management of physical and emotional wellness in men’s relationships.
The Mask We Live In: A Candid Discussion on Identity, Race, and Masculinity (Thursday, November 17 at 5:00 p.m., Multicultural Student Affairs 107):
· Men of color are invited to join this discussion of how identity, race, and social influences shape what it means to be a man.
A Movember to Remember: Stress Management for Optimal Performance (Monday, November 28 at 6:00 p.m., Searle Hall 3.226):
· The month wraps up with a more laidback approach as attendees can learn proven mind-body techniques to relieve exam stress.
It is crucial for men to have a space to openly discuss what are often considered taboo topics, and Movember gives men that space. Throughout the month, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to grow facial hair for the month of November to show support for the cause.