Movember holds special meaning for brigade

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Movember and the men’s mental health message behind it means a lot to the Clyde Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The brigade has lost two of its members to suicide.

On Monday the brigade met to train, mark the lives of both members, and to conclude their month-long Movember experience.

Some firefighters were more successful than others when it came to sporting moustaches after a month of no shaving.

Meanwhile, the female members opted to improvise.

Deputy chief fire officer Tim Paulin said the main reason was to raise awareness of men’s health issues but men’s mental health was something that had affected the brigade acutely.

‘‘So we’ve obviously got moustaches and the reason is to raise awareness in our community.

‘‘It is for ourselves and for others.’’

The key message was moustaches were for 30 days but men’s health is for every day, he said.

Showing community spirit also helped in the drive for new members — something the brigade always needed, he said.

Statistics estimate one man commits suicide every minute around the world.

Three out of four suicides are men.

Funds raised during Movember support mental health and suicide prevention, along with prostate cancer and testicular cancer awareness.

However, the focus has shifted in the past few years to match the increasing conversation about male mental health and to challenge notions about how men should deal with their mental wellbeing.

The concept was conceived by two men in Australia in 2003 and formalised the following year with company registration and the launch of a website that has spread the message around the world.

The campaign was launched in New Zealand in partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ in 2006.

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