I’d venture to guess most of you have heard of “No Shave November.” It’s a time mothers and significant others loath, and hopeful adolescents are met with fragmented results. What you may be less familiar with is Movember, a month-long initiative supporting major health challenges men face today. The cause encourages supporters to either grow a mustache or get physically active to increase awareness of men’s mental health, suicide, prostate and testicular cancer.
This November, Netsmart associate Alex Dreiling dedicated his upper lip to support Movember’s mission. Continue reading to discover what inspired his participation.
Throughout college, Alex looked forward to No Shave November each year. He fondly recalls returning home for holidays to show off his new facial do. Instead of anticipating the annually teasing from his cousins, this Thanksgiving he was ready to discuss the meaning behind his mustache.
At the beginning of the month Alex emailed family and friends about his pursuit and shared it to social media. He created an account through the Movember Foundation and customized his profile to raise funds to support men’s mental health and suicide prevention. With a goal of raising $500, Alex went about his normal routine feeling a bit more empowered and eager to educate those who question the ‘stache.
Alex’s completion of the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Certification through Netsmart inspired his participation and desire to specifically raise money to support men’s mental health. Since receiving his MHFA certification, he quickly felt a greater connection to his work. “I take my work a little more seriously now that I understand how we’re making a difference.” As a marketing automation strategist, he finds himself engaging more with the behavioral health focused copy he encounters.
In addition to finding deeper meaning in his work, Alex has also become more aware of the well-being of others in his life. “What I always think about is it’s likely someone around me is going through something, and I just don’t know.” By understanding what warning signs to lookout for, he’s prepared to offer sensitive and informed support to someone in need.
As the interview concluded Alex shared, “I urge people and associates to be more open with their family members or even a close friend or colleague about their mental health needs. I also highly recommend the mental health first aid training.” Next year, Alex and his younger brother are teaming up to spread Movember awareness. The duo has already set a goal to raise $1,000 in 2019.
According to NAMI, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness in a given year, and 1 in 5 youth aged 13-18 will experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their life. As our nation continues to increase awareness and access to mental health resources, we need more people like Alex who are willing to selflessly educate themselves for the sake of others. With support generated from causes like Movember, we begin to reduce stigma around mental health. The more we can normalize mental health as a fundamental piece of everyone’s wellness, the more individuals we can help.