As the end of November draws near, had a closer look at the month also known as “Movember”, an awareness-raising month for men’s health, and some of the initiatives undertaken in Luxembourg.

Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as men's suicide, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. The term “Movember” is a portmanteau of the Australian-English diminutive word for moustache, "mo" and "November". November is also known as “Blue November” specifically in raising awareness of male cancers.

In 2003, two friends from Melbourne, Australia (Travis Garone and Luke Slattery) were enjoying a beer at a bar in Fitzroy when they began discussing recurrent fashion trends. The moustache was no longer fashionable, although it had been a fixture of recent decades (notably in the 1970s and early 1980s). Joking about bringing back this trend, they started a campaign inspired by a friend’s mother’s fundraising for breast cancer, deciding to raise awareness for men’s health and prostate cancer. In 2004, the concept of growing moustaches for men’s health awareness was formalised. Adam Garone, an Australian social entrepreneur, registered a company and created a website for Movember and Justin Coghlan joined the team to run the campaign interstate.

According to the organisers, this campaign’s goal is to help men live happier, healthier and longer lives. Globally, on average, one man dies by suicide every minute. This is a worldwide problem that does not spare Luxembourg - in 2021, 36 people committed suicide, 27 of whom were men and nine of whom were women. Men have committed suicide more frequently than women in every recorded year in Luxembourg, since 1967, according to 

Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, thus supporting men’s health research and changing how health services reach and help men.

In the Grand Duchy, there is no formal Movember movement, but there are private fundraising initiatives and non-profit organisations that get involved. For instance, a small group of men hiked 102 km on the weekend of 18 November 2023 from the most northern to the most southern points of Luxembourg to raise awareness of men’s health issues. The team aimed to raise €2,000 for Movember.

Moreover, Think Pink Lux recently held a Movember event for men affected by cancer. Similarly, at the beginning of the month, Fondation Cancer reported that it was raising awareness through the free support group it organises in a hybrid format, allowing men with prostate cancer to come together and discuss with other people affected.

Speaking to about men’s health, Louis Seghetto, a mental health professional from Infomann, the country’s only organisation that works exclusively with men, said: “Common topics that we see among clients are domestic violence, questions about manhood, what it means to be a man in 2023, people going through divorce and separation and also major life transitions, such as new jobs or retirement. For International Men’s Day, we organised an event where we invited the filmmaker Sikou Niakate to present his film ‘Dans le Noir, les Hommes Pleurent’ (In the Dark, Men Cry)[…] The movie talks about gender expectations that men face and the roles they sometimes feel entrapped in. It was a good conversation we had afterwards and a confirmation for us to keep doing these events because men’s mental health matters.”

Discussing Movember, Louis Seghetto added: “Something to remember while Movemeber is ending is that it’s a sign of strength to ask for support. Ask the men in your life how they’re doing. […] While men are the privileged gender out of all of them, we need to acknowledge that men also face hardships and difficulties, which of course don’t take away from the hardship that women face. I don’t think anyone has it easy in this society - there is not really one group of people that are free from challenges.”