You’ve probably grown accustomed to seeing men with more facial hair in the month of November. First, there's the No-Shave November movement, when men do not shave their beards to “evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness”. This is an honorable mission however there is another one of a similar nature that brings me to the subject at hand.
Since 2003 there has been a Movember movement in which men are encouraged to grow mustaches (what was apparently a dying trend at that time, they have certainly succeeded in bringing it back). Their site states that it now receives support from over 5 million people across the globe. They have three causes that relate to men’s health: testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and the last is men’s mental health and suicide prevention. I came across this page as I went down a rabbit hole of clicks from an article (sometimes it's easy to forget where you started from in the first place am I right?). While the site does not shy away from the seriousness of the topic - in large print you immediately see the words, “Globally, every minute, a man dies by suicide. In the United States, 75% of suicides are men.” - it also addresses the subject in an approachable manner. There are videos, podcasts and written testimonials of men sharing their own experiences. The website includes a helpful step by step guide to approaching tough conversations with someone you are concerned about.
One page boasts the headline, TO BE A MAN OF LESS ANXIETY, I HAD TO BE A MAN OF MORE WORDS along with a video sharing the same sentiment. The video is obviously a caricature of someone who is more quiet and I don’t think it should imply that all men don’t talk - or put judgment on whether that's a good or bad thing for that matter. But I do appreciate the sentiment that to ask for help or support we sometimes have to use words that don’t feel as natural to us. It can put us in a position that may feel uncomfortable or vulnerable.
I am so proud to work in the Work/Life Center because we make getting support and resources normalized and easily accessible for SAS employees and their families. Yet people will still apologize for “taking up" our time by meeting with us or question if they are oversharing or being selfish for focusing on whatever is troubling for them. I get it. It can feel weird. But it’s not weird for me or my teammates here in the Work/Life Center. We are here each day for you. You can call us, email us, or set up a time to meet with us face to face. And we are always so glad when you do. Because we wouldn’t be in this job if we didn’t believe in the benefits of sharing and reaching out for assistance when needed. We understand that it can sometimes feel more comfortable to seek support from someone who looks like you - so we can help you to find resources that fit. So no matter how many words, few or many, and if you are a man, woman or non-binary, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Work/Life for support.
This week we are offering a really special opportunity to be trained in understanding how to respond to someone who is having suicidal thoughts. This training is available to SAS employees and their family members. If you work at SAS, please see the events calendar or contact Work/Life for more information.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.