Created by the Movember Foundation, this annual international event encourages men of all ages to grow a mustache to raise awareness about men’s diseases, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and male suicide prevention. Since 2003, the foundation has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects worldwide, and by 2030, Movember aims to reduce premature male deaths by 25%. With more than 6.5 million participants since the inauguration, Movember carries out projects that help society, and especially men, to care more about men’s diseases.
This year, Akinox participated in Movember, a cause close to its values. For every employee who grew a mustache during the month of November, Akinox donated $200 to the Movember Foundation. Fourteen mustachioed men made the beautiful gesture of letting their mustache grow. A sum of 2,800$ was then given to the Movember foundation to support the cause.
The importance of men’s mental health
In the context of Movember, Akinox organized a conference for its employees on the subject of men’s mental health and more specifically on the demand for help for men, mental health being an important theme for Akinox. Several topics were discussed in order to raise awareness among all those who feel concerned by this theme.
One of the things our experts learned was that in our society, many men have difficulty expressing their feelings, fears and anxieties. They are generally perceived as strong, in control and invincible.
“There’s a social code that people have internalized about what it is to be a man and that’s what we’re trying to break down with education on this topic.”
Claude Chagnon, Director of Culture and Well-Being at Akinox and doctoral student in psychology.
Therefore, it is more important to be alert to the more subtle signals of distress and help-seeking in our male colleagues. The more the concept of invincibility and strength has been internalized, the more difficult it will be to ask for help for the first time, it is then likely that the entourage will be a necessary support in order to make the request for help. Signs that could give us cause for alarm among our colleagues would be, for example, a marked increase in working hours, consumption or irritability. Behind his behaviors is, at times, psychological distress. It is important to know that the first step in asking for help from men is accepting that they need help. However, often because of pride, men tend to deny this need, so they need to be reminded that they must be strong to ask for help! As with any human being, if concrete measures are not taken at the right time, the situation could get worse.
More and more organizations, such as the Movember Foundation, are raising awareness and helping men with mental health issues. Here are some other resources that may be helpful to our male colleagues:
- À cœur d’homme: An association of 31 autonomous community organizations that help men who are struggling with violent behavior in a marital and family context. The purpose of this association is to encourage the prevention of conjugal and family violence and to actualize the development and consolidation of a network of assistance to men for a society without violence.
- Allume.org: Focusing more on psychological illnesses, allume.org aims to raise awareness among men aged 35 to 49 about psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, distress and suicidal thoughts The Et moi, comment ça va? program allows men to conduct a self-assessment of their current situation to provide them with possible solutions.
- Viensvoir.org: Many possible problems are listed, such as family problems, substance abuse, mental health, sexual orientation, lifestyle habits, etc. This site helps men find teams and organizations that can help them with these types of problems. A self-assessment questionnaire is also available.
- Masculinités & Société: This inter-university, interdisciplinary and partnership research group aims to better understand four specific male realities: fatherhood, violence, health and cultural diversity. It also seeks to understand the articulation between male achievement and social practices, including a better understanding of men’s demand for help and the response of health and social services. This group helps agencies better respond to men’s requests for help and equip them with more knowledge and empathy.
Movember is not the only event celebrated by Akinox. Our company is very much about caring, one of our core values, and for us the well-being and mental health of our employees (both men and women) and society are at the heart of our actions and decisions. We also follow a thematic calendar and each month is covered by a theme. During this month, Akinox conducts group activities, conferences and other activities to provide our employees with a great experience and bring our mission and values alive.