During November, the charity Movember – which supports men’s health – hosts fundraising events across the world.
At Ulster University, Movember’s Student Ambassador Tomas Murdoch says that; “it’s great to see that there’s more commitment and ambassadorship for the cause”. The charity funds and delivers cancer survivorship programs, innovative community mental health programs, biomedical research, and digital health products for men.
Tomas states that through the charity; “It’s hopefully getting everyone talking about their mental wellbeing to ensure nobody is sitting there thinking that they have nobody to talk to or nobody to turn to because I know for many people they have been in that place and it’s not a place that anyone would like to visit again”.
A range of events throughout November have taken place at Ulster University such as a spinathon, a Cave Hill sunrise hike, a sunrise cold water dip and a karaoke evening.
Tomas expresses that at university; “There’s a lot of pressure and I know that obviously myself and probably a lot of other people have felt that pressure and that stretch and the mental down pour it has on you …I feel that’s why there’s so many movement-oriented events I have, to be able to get yourself away from any sort of book or mental anguish that you may have”.
In previous years, Tomas has fundraised with family and friends for Movember, but this year Tomas decided he wanted to represent Movember at Ulster University and challenge the stigmas surrounding men’s health.
Tomas said; “It was fantastic, so they [Movember] flew us out to London, about sixty of us from unis across the UK to do all this training and meet the staff that work at Movember and hear all their stories”.
He added; “Some would think that it would be unmanly for people to talk about their mental health and that stigma of having the big strong man in the house that doesn’t need to show emotion… it is through Movember we have really managed to get people talking to save young men’s lives”.
In the United Kingdom, testicular cancer is the most common diagnosed cancer in young men and three out of four suicides are by men. Also, across the UK 333,500 men are living with prostate cancer.
Last year, £14.1 million was raised for Movember in the United Kingdom, with 77.8 per cent of those funds supporting men’s health projects.
Tomas adds that; “Obviously since Movember is just one month; I don’t want it to end up a case of everyone goes to these events and ends up talking, stuff like that, but stops that by the month. I want it to be a year-round thing, to create that habit of getting people talking and the more people we get talking about their mental wellbeing or about any problems that they may have, we lower that risk of a man taking his life”.
Ulster University’s 2022 Movember campaign raised a total of £1,670 for the charity. Additional information is available on https://uk.movember.com
Holly Fleck is an Ulster University Journalism Graduate and current Journalism MA student at Ulster University. She has a passion for Health and Business reporting. Holly has previously hosted UUSU's The Student Show podcast, Ulster University events as well as contributing content to QR's The Scoop and Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary.