ENCOURAGING men to talk about their health is a key message from those raising money for Movember.
Matt De Gruchy and Ben Plunkett used to share a bus ride together; now they say they share almost everything.
The pair, who describe themselves as " basically brothers", first met as students at Horsham Primary School and also attended Horsham College together but weren't close until a few years ago.
Now they have taken their friendship to the next level by aiming to raise $1000 for Movember in order to promote men's health - particularly mental health.
Mr De Gruchy said Mr Plunkett had taken on the task of growing the moustache but said he was also "trying his best" to grow one as well.
"(Mr Plunkett) had a beard for six years and he's shaved it off completely. He looks like a baby and now he's just growing the mo back for this month," he said.
Mr De Gruchy said 10 per cent of proceeds from his Visionary clothing line, which raises awareness for people who are blind or have low vision, would be donated to the Movember program during November.
Mr De Gruchy said he and Mr Plunkett also do a podcast together called The Visionary Brothers, in which they discuss their experiences with mental health.
He said the benefits of opening up about mental health were "endless".
Mr De Gruchy said people should encourage others to speak about their feelings or issues and start by speaking in a one-on-one situation.
"Create a space where there is no judgement and people are listening," he said.
Michael Farr has also used the Movember campaign as a chance to start positive conversations about mental health.
Mr Farr cycled in a group of seven riders from Adelaide to Melbourne across five days, stopping in Keith, Stawell and Kyneton in what he calls the 'TourDeParma'.
"In 2017, which was TourDeParma's first run, I was suffering some serious mental illnesses and the way I approached telling people about it was just over a parma at the pub," he said.
"At the time, I was also using bike riding as kind of a therapy and the longer I rode, the better I felt. I joined those two together and started my own ride from Melbourne to Sydney and the tradition has continued."
He said men didn't readily speak out and seek help.
"We're quite happy to just let things go and not see a GP or see a specialist until it's too late and it gets to a crisis point," he said.
Mr Farr said the group met people on their journey who clearly enjoyed talking to someone outside of their family unit.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics from 2018 showed the number of deaths by suicide was about three times higher in men than women during the past 10 years. In Victoria, 593 people died by suicide last year - 440 of those were men.
Wimmera Prostate Cancer Support Group assistant team leader Max Judd said men seemed to have a reluctance to speak about their health issues.
Prostate cancer is the the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, with more than 3500 Australians expected to die from the disease this year.
"Women do it all the time, but men are just too bulletproof (to talk). They think it will never happen to them," Mr Judd said.
Mr Judd said when men first attended the support group, there was usually a reluctance to share their experience.
"Once they learned that the group follows the Cancer Council's code of ethics on confidentiality, they feel more at ease to open up," he said.
- If you, or someone you know needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Help on 1800 55 1800 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
- Groups, volunteers provide mental health support through advocacy
- Mental health advocate Lauren Dempsey encourages others to reach out
- Advocates encourage men to talk about mental health
- Ballarat Health Services advocates for mental health beds in Horsham
- Psychologist says anxiety is still stigmatised following new Beyond Blue data
- Healthy Minds Horsham advocates for preventative mental health care ahead of stress workshop
- Wimmera farmers share mental health experiences
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