#MenDoLunchDay 2020

Andy Elwood, one of our talented Mental Health First Aid Instructors, has this year secured the important role of Ambassador for #Movember – a leading charity changing the face of men’s health on a global scale, focusing on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

Andy’s pioneering approach to getting the topic of male mental health out in the open, is a breath of fresh air, and without doubt, will have saved lives in the process. In 2018, Andy launched #MenDoLunchDay, as an opportunity to engage men in a conversation around mental health in the hope of reducing male suicide figures through meaningful conversations over lunch with friends. He says:

“I’m raising funds and awareness this Movember for MEN – I want men to live longer, happier lives. Men need your help! Get involved, have fun, join the conversation – you are NOT alone!”

Research shows males tend to struggle with expressing their own feelings and vulnerabilities for fear of showing weakness or the shame of what others might think. Statistics from the Office of National Statistics reveal the true impact of these beliefs:
• 75% of suicides in the UK are men.
• 13 men end their own life per day (average figure based on 2018 ONS)
• 75% people with a diagnosable mental illness receive no treatment at all.

#MenDoLunchDay is something everyone can get involved in whatever your gender. We know that men often open-up to a woman when they feel unable to talk to another man. So, wherever you’re going to be on the 14th November, whoever you are, whatever your gender identification, the idea is simple – just arrange to have lunch with a man that you care about. It could be your mate, son, husband, father, brother, uncle, colleague, neighbour or someone you haven’t seen for a long time. Make a date now!

As well as continuing the awareness for #MenDoLunch, Andy made two very personal and significant commitments should he meet his fundraising milestones: first, to shave his famous beard if he raised £250 in pledges, and second, to shave his legs if he reached £500. We’re pleased to report both targets have been exceeded, and the fuzz has gone ;).

As if this was not enough, he has also pledged to walk 2km per day, reaching 60km by the end of Movember. The 2km represents a daily commute, and reflects that during your average daily commute, at least one man around the world will have taken their own life by suicide.

Andy’s top tips on how approach a friend facing mental health issues include:
• Ask him how he is doing – what’s really going on for him?
• Listen carefully, don’t judge
• Tell him how you’re feeling and what’s really going on for you.
• Share your lunchtime selfies on social media using the #MenDoLunchDay

Let’s begin those vital conversations and save a man’s life on your lunch break!

In Andy’s own words – “Have a chinwag & save a life at lunch!”….

If you would like to donate to this important cause, follow the link attached to this blog.