By Chapter Consultant Daniel Lyon, Omega Mu-Oklahoma State University '16
The transition from high school to college can be one of great turmoil and distress for many students. Moving from a comfortable environment of structure and social immersion to one of isolation and independence challenges students with feelings of isolation, unrelatedness, and alienation.
Often times, these difficulties lead students to reach for ways to cope, a majority of which are not considered to have positive impacts for mental stress, such as alcohol abuse, substance use, or supplementing sleep for extra curricular activities. More than 50% of 1,964 college students surveyed in a long term study reported symptoms of mood disorders along with alertness and attentive problems, as well as anxiety disorders affecting memory and executive functioning problems (Homes and Silvestri, 2010). Other reports show a rise in severe psychological problems such as self harm, substance abuse, eating disorders, and sexual assaults among 274 institutions between 2010-2015 (Pedrelli et al, 2015). Factors such as depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness or isolation, combined with habits such as substance abuse and an unwillingness to seek help can attribute to suicidal ideation and attempts. Adults aged 18-25 have a higher rate of suicidal thoughts, making plans for suicide, and attempting suicide. Three quarters of all suicides are men, which equates to roughly half a million men taking their life each year as a result of mental turmoil.
These trends give urgency to raise awareness for the apparent student mental health crisis that is sweeping our universities and colleges. These days, it seems easier to look at your phone than to engage in conversation with your neighbor. With this is in mind, it also seems easier to keep feelings of discontent in our heads rather than sharing with others or seeking help. The movember foundation is a multinational charity that aims to raise awareness of and money for men’s health. Originally focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s health awareness and lifestyles, the foundation has made a sizeable focus shift towards poor mental health.
I am all too soon reminded of an undergraduate member of Deke who took his life this semester. The tragedy and loss of our dear brother shows the importance of mental health for our college students and our undergraduate Brothers. Growing a moustache for Movember is not about style or looks or trends, it is about a conversation; a conversation that encourages and empowers males to discuss the risk factors to men's mental health and to seek help in combating them. It is these factors which we must raise awareness of through conversation and community partnership.
And Movember isn’t just about raising awareness to mental health; It also covers testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and physical health. These are all things that affect men in great numbers, and Movember is working to remove the stigma of talking about these issues, raise awareness of the issues, and get programs and research funded to help men with these issues.
If you’re a Deke and would like to join the Movember cause, sign up and create a Movember profile at Movember.com. You can help by growing a Mo or committing to an active challenge to get in shape, or stay in shape. You can start a DKE chapter team if your chapter isn’t already participating in Movember, and be sure to join the DKE International Network here: https://us.movember.com/mospace/network/48108. Or, if you just want to donate to the cause, feel free to donate to my page here at Mobro.co/daniellyon.