Why did you get involved?
Ollie: Dads, brothers, mates – men’s mental health effects everyone and is something that, until recently, has been massively overlooked. Movember has played a big part in removing the stigma around Men’s mental health issues; ‘man up’ is no longer good enough. ‘Men are dying too young. We can’t afford to stay silent.’
How have you found the start of university in lockdown?
Harvey: I certainly haven’t been immune to the pressures associated with university – I broke my thumb in September, requiring surgery, so trying to cope with the workload of my final year, I have found that I get increasingly frustrated with myself – more than I ever have before. But, as a third year student, I’ve had the opportunity to make a great group of friends at uni, whereas a lot of students havent have the same luck. For many people, especially first year students, who don’t know anyone at university, lockdown could be a very difficult time – and with no one to turn to, it’s unsurprising that so many guys struggle with their mental health.
Ollie: I was fully aware of what to expect as a third–year student going into a very sociable household. I didn’t expect to find it as difficult as I did, both educationally and mentally. All of my academic work was released at the beginning of the week, I would find myself working long hours and getting stressed and swamped in the start of the week, only to struggle and repeat it all over again the following week. This had a negative spill over effect into my social interaction with housemates. However, having mates to turn to and sometimes simply just ask ‘How’s your day been?’ Or ‘What’s the highlight of your day?’ really can go a long way to change this frame of mind.
Motivation behind Movember?
Harvey; Many amazing individuals take part in astonishing fundraisers for charity. The reason we love the movement and cause of Movember, is that all men can have a laugh and a giggle while attempting to grow some very questionable facial hair and all because its Movember, there is this underlying respect for growing a dodgy tache. Sports teams, societies and groups of pals all take part to form a sense of camaraderie and there’s no better feeling than belonging and to have others looking out for you, which we believe is a core principle of Movember.
Have you set yourself any other challenge apart from growing a ‘tache?
Ollie; As a group of mates, we all love to take part in Strava challenges between us. We have both set the challenge of running every day for November, with no specification on distance or speed, just get out and enjoy a run in the morning to start your day or in the evening to clear your head after a long day of work – whether plugging your headphones in and enjoying your own company or running together for a general chat, as we often do. With a house full of third year students with very demanding workloads some days you will only see your housemates for 20 minutes between 9-5 so a run together is always enjoyable.
How Is the ‘Tache?
Ollie; Personally am not a fan, I am very much looking forward to December 1st to say goodbye to the ‘tache. However, proved to myself I can grow some substantial facial hair, not fashionable just substantial.
Harvey: As I normally have a beard, it’s a struggle to force myself to shave frequently – thank god for online seminars! That said, I’ve definitely had a few compliments which I am not ready to let go of yet! Will I keep it? Probably not. Has it been worth it? Undoubtedly. Aside from that, Ollie’s moustache is definitely better than he realises, even if it isn’t as good as mine.
Do you try to encourage others around you?
Harvey; We always like to encourage our mates to join our running challenge, post–run you can see that they have enjoyed it. We like to add a comedic value and compete as to who can write the wittiest Strava captions. These captions add a competitive but comedic aspect to our challenge, with the aim of everyone feeling included and sharing the fun.
Ollie; Everyone is different, and there should be no perfect mould of what you should be. The idea of Movember is the feeling of togetherness, not the sense of competition and who can run the quickest or furthest. It is Important for men to not feel scared, embarrassed or cautious to do anything – we would encourage anyone to get active release some endorphins as everyone has a day one.
Ollie and Harvey raised over £200 between them this year.