How Movember is helping men open up on mental health
When cricketer Moises Henriques bravely spoke up about his experience with depression in 2018, a palpable shift was brewing among men in sport.
While it is four years since Moises Henriques first opened up about his mental health journey, there is still work to be done in destigmatising the conversation for men, according to the Australian cricketer.
While it is a positive and encouraging step forward, three out of four suicides in Australia are by men, according to Movember.
The latest Ten to Men: the Australian Longitudinal Study of Male Health report found only a quarter of men said they would ask for help from a mental health professional if they were experiencing personal or emotional problems.
Why mental health breaks are important for recovery
Moises says there’s much room to grow in encouraging men to talk.
“I think the conversation is definitely a lot more open and it’s nowhere near as taboo as it was in the past, but I still think we’ve got a bit of a way to go in terms of finding an effective system (to manage mental health breaks), which takes sport schedules and things like that into consideration,” he says.
“What makes it tricky is everyone’s journey with mental health is different, so that can impact how sports professionals return to play.
“We need to approach mental health breaks similarly to physical injuries in which rehabilitation is a consistent aspect of recovery.
“I think a similar type of consistency is needed for mental health breaks, which could involve talking with a professional and digging through some ideas about returning to play.”
Movember’s reach grows to include mental health
For years, Moises has used his profile as a leading international cricketer to advocate for mental health and bring attention to a number of causes and charities close to his heart, such as youth cancer initiative You Can in addition to his ambassadorship with global charity Movember.
“This is my third year involved with Movember, but I’ve grown a mo every November for the past six or seven years,” he says.
“Originally, they were quite focused on raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer, but now they’ve started to stretch out and extend their resources to also cover men’s mental health.”
After another challenging year, Movember is calling on Australians to unite for its 18th annual mo-growing campaign in an effort to raise funds for men’s health and have fun in the process.
“Obviously prostate cancer awareness is extremely important, but mental health advocacy and youth suicide prevention are my areas of focus,” Moises says.
“People who don’t feel like they have any other options, we’re finding them more options to keep fighting.”
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Still time to start growing a mo for Movember
As for what he’s learnt from all his moustache growing over the years, the NSW all-rounder thinks there’s still some room for improvement.
“I’ve been told my moustache is a bit basic; there’s not much going on with it, so we’ll see how things go later in the month,” he says.
“I might be able to make it funkier, maybe get some handlebars happening once it starts getting a little dense, but I’m not gifted with facial hair like that.
“I wouldn’t say I have mo envy towards any of my teammates, at least not right now.
“I’m sitting across from Daniel Hughes right now and his mo is average at best, but give him two to three weeks and that thing will be out of control.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen the character Asterix, but that’s what it can look like; a thing of beauty.”
Cricket Australia has been a longstanding supporter of Movember and have had a partnership with the leading men’s health charity for the past 14 years.
To get involved, visit movember.com.au
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Written by Charlotte Brundrett