Movember, Mental Health and Surfing
November – the month of Movember, Mental Health and benefits of surfing
Movember has once again rolled round with the start of the month of November. For those unaware of what Movember is and what it stands for, it is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s mental health and suicide.
The aim of this men’s health leading charity is to reduce the number of preventable male deaths and help men live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Here are some statistics from the Movember website that are shocking
Men’s health is in crisis. Men are dying on average 5 years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons.
A growing number of men – around 10.8M globally – are facing life with a prostate cancer diagnosis. Globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men. And across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 75% of all suicides.
It is an amazing charity with an extremely important focus on men’s health overall to raise this awareness and help people make positive decisions.
Especially in such times as the world faces right now with so much uncertainty; so much financial and business stress; previously successful businesses and operations thrown into turmoil and mayhem caused by COVID through no fault of the business owner; the separation of family and friends; and all the additional direct and indirect major problems that the CoronaVirus pandemic has caused and created increasing the awareness of mental health is so important and such a huge step in the right direction to help those struggling.
Now more than ever taking a moment to think about mental health and take stock to look around at people you know. As we are facing pressures caused by something so far from left field and so completely unexpected that it is a very timely reminder on the importance of checking in with people, touching base to make sure they are okay.
Take a moment to think of your family, your mates, your friends and acquaintances or even just people that you see around. Although Movember is about having the spotlight on men’s health, mental health affects everyone so be a a guy or a girl of any age bracket.
Spend a little minute wondering whether they are their normal self or whether they have started to become quieter, maybe started to become more introverted, do not seem their normal self, are maybe not as chatty as normal or are becoming more removed or alienated or are just simply a little different than norml. It might not be very obvious and us guys especially are great at being able to hide behind happy facades! If you can think of someone, maybe they are facing some issues that are causing them problems and turmoil inside.
Then this is the time to act, to show some support and compassion for them and to check in on them.
The Movember website provides a plethora of information on mental health including
- How to spot the signs of someone possibly struggling
- How to start a conversation and letting it flow with someone who is facing issues using ALEC
- A – ask
- L – listen
- E – encourage action
- C – check in
- Shares stories
- Provides further contact details for other support groups like
- Beyond Blue
- Suicide Call Back Service
- Open Arms
- Sane Australia
- And the list goes on
COVID has really highlighted the how unexpected life can be, how quickly things can change and how factors that we have absolutely no control over can have such massive ramifications.
Sadly mental health issues are so prevalent in Australia, and throughout the world, but yet have always been and can still continue to be so easily swept under the rug and not discussed. Thanks to the huge work of charities and organisations such as Movember, awareness is growing, the stigma is reducing and more and more people are conscious and active in looking after their own mental health but also looking out for others.
Our sport of surfing is so much more than a sport. We are blessed with being part of an activity that provides so much more than just a sport of catching waves. The benefits of surfing are massive including a physical activity and sport, for health and exercise, a potential avenue for people as athletes, working in the surf industry but often forgotten are the amazing benefits of mental health.
Mental health can be so positively affected by surfing in so many ways
- The exercise helps promote endorphins being released into the body
- Being in the ocean surfing forces us to focus on catching waves and forgetting about any other issues that are happening on the land
- The ocean and salt water are such a soothing healing medium helping us to recentre
- The aquatic environment and surfing especially allows us to take a step back and be immersed in nature where we are at the mercy of whatever it throws at us
- It is for so many of us surfers a sanctuary, a place to meditate in our own way and absorb the zen of the water
- It gives is joy, it is a heap of fun and no matter how good or bad the surf might have actually been, everyone is still much better off after having jumped in the water for a wave whether a quick 10 minute surf or a multi hour surf
The saying ‘ Only a Surfer knows the Feeling’ is so apt here but it really is a release, a place of escape and environment of sanctuary where we can go to when we know we need a break from it all and to get away from the pressures of what life might be throwing at us.
At Walkin’ On Water Surf School, we have worked with many mental health programs, by including surfing into their weekly routines where the participants have had fantastic responses for the mental well being and personal life.
It has been proved that catching waves works like a medicine and helps to deal with depressive symptoms, negative thoughts, insomnia, irritability, anxiety and bipolar disorders, and self-destructive behaviours.
Mental health and peoples state of mind are so critical for quality of life but can be so fragile and easily shaken.
Thank you to the Movember crew and all the other groups that work tirelessly to help those suffering from and dealing with mental health issues.