Launched in 2003, Movember was set up by two friends in a bar in Melbourne, Australia. Travis Garone and Luke Slattery were discussing how the moustache had disappeared from fashion trends and set themselves, and 30 other men, the challenge of bringing it back. No money was raised in that initial year, but the two were shocked by their moustaches ability to generate a conversation.
In 2004, they decided to complete the challenge again, this time registering Movember as a charity. The funds raised went to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), at the time the amount raised, £21,184, was the largest single donation the PCFA had ever received.
Since those early years, Movember grew from being an Australian based charity to one that features in 21 countries in five continents around the world, with support from over six million “mo bros and mo sisters”. The charity has also expanded its initial sole focus on prostate cancer and also raises awareness about testicular cancer and men’s mental health.
“Men’s health is in crisis,” the charity says. “Men are dying on average five years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons.”
Indeed, around 10.8 million men across the world are facing life with a prostate cancer diagnosis whilst testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men. Additionally, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day globally, with men accounting for 69 per cent of all suicides. Now in its 20th year, Movember is back once more to bring awareness to these statistics and there are a multitude of ways that pharmacy teams can get involved.
Grow a Mo
Throughout November, the aim of Movember is asking people to organise sponsorship to grow a moustache which serves as the perfect conversation starter to raise awareness in all walks of life. “It’s like wearing a symbol representing healthier men and a healthier world, all Movember long,” says the charity. “It shows everyone you walk past that men’s health matters to you.”
Pharmacy teams could nominate a member to take part and raise money in the community or advertise the initiative throughout the store. For more information, moustache growing guides, ‘mo’ rules and sponsorship advice visit Movember.
If growing a moustache is not your thing, the charity also runs a campaign encouraging people to run or walk 60km over the month for the 60 men lost to suicide every hour across the world.
Not only is this a charitable initiative but it’s also an opportunity to promote general healthy living within the pharmacy. As staff are all too aware of, regular exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle and what better way for customers to kickstart this routine?
Any exercise is accepted as long as it involves moving 60km across the month, but the charity has two groups for people to get involved with, Mo Running & Movember Cycling Club.
Most importantly, Movember encourages conversations about men’s health – something that men often can find hard to broach – so teams can use the cause to kickstart some conversations in the pharmacy.
National Self Care Week: 13-19 November 2023
This year, the theme for Self Care Week is ‘Mind and Body’. Organised by the Self Care Forum, the annual national awareness week is asking people to consider their whole selves when it comes to improving their health. The charity aims to focus on embedding support for self care across communities, families and generations.
The pharmacy can use the week to highlight important health messages to customers. In 2022, more than 800 organisations and individuals used the time to empower their audiences reaching millions across the UK, according to the charity.
Healthy messages that should be promoted include:
- Taking vitamin D supplements
- Good nutrition and regular exercise to support wellbeing and maximise immunity
- Adopting positive lifestyle choices
- Increasing health literacy levels in the community and in schools
- Supporting mental wellness by keeping connected
- Understanding how to manage minor and long term health conditions.
The week is also used to promote better use of the NHS by directing people to the right service relevant to their health needs, in particular signposting people to pharmacy for accessible health care and advice.
Staff can advertise Self Care Week in store using a range of resources including the charities eight point plan.