Movember has become an autumn mainstay, where dudes channel their most masculine heroes, Ron Swanson and Tom Selleck, and grow mustaches in varying degrees of magnificence in order to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. Well, if you’re looking for another excuse to do good and justify growing some questionable facial hair, The Sides of March is here for you.
According to the UK male suicide prevention association Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), “there were 6,109 probable deaths by suicide in the UK in 2014 of which 76%, or 4,623 — an average of 12 per day — were male.” Adam Torr, founder of The Sides of March, was affected by this statistic in January, when his friend Jesh committed suicide. Torr and the rest of Jesh’s friends and family were apparently shocked, as he had exhibited no signs of depression or other suicidal signifiers. Torr told Mashable:
“There’s still a lack of knowledge about how big the issue of male suicide is. When you first hear that it’s the biggest killer of men under 45, it hits you really hard. But, the topic of suicide is still taboo, and people just don’t talk about it.”
In order to raise awareness about suicide risks for men in the UK, Torr and his friends and family decided to start the campaign, encouraging men to start growing impressive sideburns in order to start conversations about suicide prevention.
“That’s a great opener for telling them about the scale of male suicide, and to encourage more discussion around depression,” says Torr. “There’s still a pressure for men to be strong, and to not talk about their feelings. People just don’t know when their friends are struggling. I didn’t know that my friend was struggling until it was too late.”
Torr hopes that the campaign will bring in significant funding for CALM, and if there is success in the UK, perhaps something similar can spawn across the pond. For such quirky facial hair, the rules aren’t too crazy: you cannot connect your sideburns with a beard or weird hair chin strap, but a mustache is permissible. Stop shaving now!