Men all over are sporting moustaches in November to turn it into Movember and bring awareness to men’s health issues. Movember focuses on the physical issues of prostate and testicular health, but there is also large mental health component to the awareness campaign. Many men have been raised to believe that there is no safe space to talk about stress, depression, or suicidal thoughts. Movember is an outward attempt to challenge this notions and create safe spaces for men to open up about physical and mental health.
By its very nature farming is a stressful and isolated job. Historically, farms were physically distant from external resources and sources of support. To complicate matters sometimes the built in support network (family), was actually not supportive – or even the source of stress. Today, physical distance should no longer be a barrier for finding supports as many phone lines, online communities and communication tools exist to assist us in connecting with others. However, the same self-sufficient attitude that is typical of farmers can be a hindrance when thinking about asking for help.
As farm extenders, it often falls to women to help create the safe space where men can talk about physical and mental health issues. This is a super-important, and often overlooked, role of a farm extender. Extenders often provide mental health supports, organize and schedule appointments and push for changes that are good for the health of our families.
This November, FarmFemmes is challenging you to take a fresh look at your physical and mental health.
- Book a physical - talk to your doctor about anything you have been "putting off"
- Find a safe space to explore stressors and coping techniques
- identify unhealthy ways you deal with stress and consider how you could replace them with healthy ways to deal with the stress that is inevitable in farming
- consider how to reduce or minimize stressors in your operation and in your personal life
Of course, there are many formal ways to support the Movember movement. However, you don’t have to do anything big or organized. A great first step is just to start a conversation…