November is men’s health month

November is the month when you tend to notice many more men sporting facial hair. Stubble, 5 o’clock shadows, beards and a multitude of moustaches make an appearance this month. Why? Because it’s Movember: a global campaign which encourages discussion and fundraising to raise awareness of men’s health issues.

The idea is that by asking men everywhere to grow a moustache during the month of November, the spotlight is shone on tackling male cancers and men’s health awareness. For 30 days, a man’s moustache becomes a highly visible talking point for men’s health. In this way, Movember raises awareness of some of the biggest health issues faced by men and focuses on the three key areas of prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

Since its inception, the Movember Foundation has funded over 1,250 projects in more than 20 countries. It aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides annual check-ups, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of a family history of cancer and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Drug and alcohol concerns highlighted in men’s health month

As well as Movember, November is also men’s mental health month. According to the Mental Health Foundation, the statistics are frightening:

  • Three times as many men as women die by suicide
  • Men aged 40–49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK
  • Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women
  • Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only one-third of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men
  • Men are nearly three times as likely as women to become dependent on alcohol, and three times as likely to report frequent drug use [1]

The evidence shows that, because men are less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health issues, they are more likely to use potentially harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol.

Men may also be more likely to use alcohol and drugs to cope with depression, rather than talking about it.

Charities and support agencies stress that drinking alcohol and resorting to drugs are not good ways to manage difficult feelings. Both can be used to change an individual’s mood, but the effect is only temporary.

When alcohol wears off, the person will feel worse because of the way alcohol withdrawal symptoms affect the brain and the rest of the body. Apart from the damage to health that too much alcohol can cause, users need more and more alcohol each time to feel the same short-term boost. The effects of taking drugs are also short-lived. Just like alcohol, the more they are used, the more they are craved. Drugs don’t deal with the causes of difficult feelings. They don’t solve problems, they create them.

Drug and alcohol support

If you, a friend, or a member of your family needs help addressing their alcohol or drug consumption, AlphaBiolabs offers a range of alcohol and drug testing solutions. All services are confidential and can be accessed online via our website and at our nationwide Walk-in Centres. Our network of experienced and highly trained sample collectors can visit you at a time and place to suit you. Should you require legally-defensible results, our collectors will follow chain of custody procedures to prevent any potential tampering or contamination.

Alcohol testing methods include blood alcohol testing, instant breath tests, nail clippings and 3- or 6-month hair analyses to show alcohol consumption over a period of time. Real-time results are also available with SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring®.

Drug testing options include hair drug testing, nail clipping analysis, oral fluid testing and urine drug testing.

For expert advice or further information, please call 0333 600 1300 or email us at