QU participates in Men’s Mental Health Month

By Alexa Low

Movember: a time to grow moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer and suicide awareness.

This is the first time Quincy University has participated in Movember. The idea comes from the Movember Foundation which is well-known and has the support of major companies such as Campbell’s Soup and Blue Cross Blue Shield. 

The Movember Foundation, that began in 2003, promotes causes such as prostate and testicular cancer prevention alongside mental health and suicide prevention. They have funded more than 1,200 projects to save and improve the lives of men. They have committed themselves to helping men live happier, healthier, longer lives. With over five million “Mo Bros” and “Mo Sistas” they have made a large impact on the mental health community. 

“I’m really excited and hopefully this is going to be that first step for helping men create a dialogue so some of these things that are sort of taboo to talk about, they can know it’s totally okay to talk about,” Brendan McCrudden, student success coach, said.

The month was kicked off with a “Shave the Day” party and then a self-defense seminar put on by Legacy Martial Art Instructor Robert Bentley underneath the cafeteria. 

Students who participated in the self-defense seminar received a free month of training at Legacy Martial Arts.

Many are familiar with “No-Shave November” where participants do not shave to raise awareness for all types of cancer. It is suggested for the participants to then donate the money they would’ve spent on shaving to cancer prevention organizations.

The idea came from the Movember Foundation with the slogan “Grow a Mo, save a Bro.” As the slogan states, participants grew out their facial hair into a moustache in support of their friends and loved ones struggling with mental health issues. 

QU’s participants took the foundation’s idea of growing a moustache and took it farther to grow out their hair into a beard or however they please.  

The slideshow at the end of this story shows pictures of participants who decided to grow out their moustaches and beards. The participants include the head Football Coach Gary Bass and the head Lacrosse Coach Eric Ruppel. Alongside them is the man in charge of the Movember movement Brenden McCrudden and  an active participant of Movember Brady Cook. 

A documentary by the name of “Tough Guise” was put on for students. The documentary underlined the expectations of men and the imagery of masculinity. The makers of the documentary chose to use the word “Guise” in the title instead of “Guys” to emphasize the fact that being a tough guy is just an act and that being masculine and being tough do not always come hand-in-hand. 

The last week in November was Suicide Awareness Week which ties in heavily with Movember. The amount of suicides each year is currently at 75 percent men and 25 percent women. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, last year men died from suicide 3.54 times more often than women.

QU has had suicide cases happen to past and present students.

Lance Ackerman, a student who came to Quincy in the fall of 2016 spent a year at QU before deciding to transfer elsewhere. During his time away he committed suicide, leaving behind many close friends still at QU.

“Lance was one of my best friends here at QU our freshman year. Lance’s passing affected me personally because we were so close of friends, but he never talked about being sad or depressed. Lance was always such a positive and funny person, that’s why he had so many friends. I wish that if he would have said something that I could have done something to help him. I think that it’s important that people are raising men’s health awareness, or more specifically, suicide awareness. It’s great that QU has tried to raise awareness with Movember because I think that it will help guys find the help they need,” Chase Lowenstein said. 

One of McCrudden’s goals for future Movembers is to create an atmosphere where men on campus do not feel uncomfortable to talk about how they feel and know that there are people at QU to talk to.

“Creating a dialogue is the whole point of the Movember month. Suicide Awareness and Testicular Prostate Awareness are the two major tenants and the overall arching one is creating a dialogue and making sure men have an opportunity to talk, ask, listen and kind of encourage action,” McCrudden said.

For Suicide awareness week, fact sheets were passed out in the cafeteria along with mental health bracelets and self-check cards for men.

An avid participant in Movember, Carson Kroshinsky, feels very strongly about men’s mental health.

“It’s been well documented that mental health has been a widely neglected and misunderstood medical topic for a long time. As far as men’s health specifically I think it’s crucial that we open up and are comfortable with talking about the struggles and difficulties we are going through. Past generations of men were expected to keep their emotions to themselves and just ‘suck it up.’ I have friends that have struggled with depression so I’m glad to see that the stigma is slowly starting to change,” Kroshinsky explained.

Movember wrapped up with an open panel that includes a cancer doctor from Quincy Medical Group, a counselor and a nutritionist/ personal trainer.

“We’ve had a lot of people from the community step up and want to be a part of this, they see the value in it and it’s been really awesome,” McCrudden said.

The school counselors are happy to see the school aiding in Men’s Mental Health Month. They have suicide pamphlets located in their office in Friars Hall Monday through Friday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m and Friday 8 a.m. to noon . Walk-ins and appointments are welcome. For those who wish to make an appointment they can email the school counselor at qucounselor@quincymedgroup.com or call 217-228-5432, Ext. 3785.

“I think it’s crucial to bring awareness to suicide and to give people outlets. That may be having the ability for students to come talk to us counselors or having a suicide hotline available for someone to reach out after hours. Having outlets for students, staff and really anyone I think is crucial,” Maggie Althide, Quincy Medical Group Counselor, said.

The QU Counseling Center provides services for anxiety and stress, depression, relationship concerns, worries regarding grades, family situations, adjustment to university life and other mental health issues. They have collaborated with community health professionals to be available to students. 

For students who may need additional help, the Health & Wellness Center is located on the other side of the Counseling Center. The Health & Wellness Center can prescribe and refill medications while offering a supply of over-the-counter medications and medical information/ pamphlets. 

The goal of this year’s Movember was to create and raise awareness while next year will be more fundraising for the Movember Foundation.

McCrudden has seen the breast cancer awareness month become very popular and would like to see awareness of testicular prostate cancer gain popularity as well.

Testicular Cancer Awareness Month is recognized in the month of April with a royal blue ribbon. The color of the ribbon is a bit of a debate as the color orchid has previously been the official color for testicular cancer.

The Quincy Women’s Volleyball team wore purple headbands to raise testicular cancer awareness during their game against Lewis University.

Movember is a well-known Foundation that affects many different people with many different issues, not just QU students. 

A former QU student, Yasir McGirt, is the founder and CEO of Tamir Pruitt M.I.R.acle Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing awareness to depression by educating society on the severity of mental illness.

McGirt started his own Foundation after his current girlfriend committed suicide. He felt the best way to keep her legacy going was to help others who are struggling in the same types of predicaments she found herself in. 

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