Anupam sat in a barber chair looking away from camera
Mo Bro Anupam speaks mental health at Kings of London BarbersImage by: Robin Boot
Anupam sat in a barber chair looking away from camera
1 June 2023

Anupam’s story: My moustache and me

4 minutes read time

Anupam, 38 years old, living in London and working as a consultant in the energy transition sector shares with Movember why he Mo’s.

I’ve been supporting and fundraising for Movember for over three years as I greatly value how they provide a platform to raise awareness for causes closest to me: men’s mental health and suicide prevention.

Like many others, I went through a difficult time in 2020. I was facing multiple challenges between personal relationships, career, and medical emergencies in the family; it was all happening at once. I tried to soldier on like I always had, living up to the societal expectations of being a man and not asking for support as it would have meant being weak. Unknowingly, I was carrying a lot of weight from stressful situations I’d experienced in the past. I could not cope with the new changes and began to buckle, presenting pronounced symptoms of poor mental well-being. I did not know how or whom to ask for help. No one around me had ever supported someone experiencing deteriorating levels of mental well-being.

It took a while to figure this out on my own and each day felt like an insurmountable step to climb. I sought professional medical support to appropriately diagnose the impact my condition was having on me. It was hard to notice any recovery for a long time as progress can be very slow.

I was very fortunate to find and join a men’s group that convenes circles to talk (or just listen) in a safe and confidential space. Within this group, I gained confidence to open up to friends and family, building deeper connections. Through this experience, I created a community willing to support my recovery and share accountability of my progress.

" I did not know how or whom to ask for help. No one around me had ever supported someone experiencing deteriorating levels of mental well-being. "

Most importantly, being vulnerable while breaking the traditional notion of masculinity, sharing my deepest fears within a safe space of my community is what helped me navigate my recovery. We have all heard a problem shared is a problem halved. It does work after all!

I now believe everyone has their answers deep within and we must go on a journey looking for them. The journey may seem like a long steep climb with no hope of relief from the pain, while cliff edges all around entice you as an easier option out of it. Remind yourself that it’s only a mirage created due to the weight of situational pressures. My journey felt exactly like that. I tried many avenues to find my own answers. Some have worked well, enabling me to thrive in a wholesome way. It is not necessary that what works for one will also work for the other, but something that worked for me, I would like to share with you - ‘SPIRE’ -

Spiritual – try meditation or develop your own rituals that enable you to mindfully savour the present and find your centre

Physical – exercise and care for your body as it’s vital for creating a mind / body connection

Intellectual – learn from people’s stories, and allow space for new interests and experiences

Relational – participate in communities of like-minded people to find and nurture meaningful relationships, and most important of all do not forget to be kind to yourself as you would to others

Emotional - welcome all emotions and note how you feel each time experiencing that emotion, thereby gradually stretching resilience, and finding one’s own emotional equilibrium

As my support and way to fundraise, during Movember, I grow a moustache. Many may think that it’s not an arduous undertaking, but... I am not blessed with facial hair density, so always end up growing a dodgy and patchy moustache. I find the moustache bloody itchy and uncomfortable. So, it’s not an easy one month for someone who cannot stand a stubble beyond three days. But in that month, when I don a moustache, it encourages friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to find out why I am growing one, which then prompts deeper conversations, creating a space to share what’s going on under the hood.

Some of these conversations and connections continue beyond Movember, irrespective of the month with or without a moustache. Each year, I am surprised by how much the relatively simple act of donning a moustache has achieved, from raising funds to encouraging conversations and spreading awareness of the cause. Men can, and should talk. It really does help.

If you, or someone you know, is feeling low, don’t hesitate to reach out for support using these local support resources.

To speak with someone immediately, call The Samaritans on 116 123 or message the Shout text line on 85258.

If you’re ever worried that someone’s life is in immediate danger, call 999 or go directly to emergency services.

Starting conversations with men who are struggling may seem daunting. But getting them to open up can be easier with practice. Use our tool Movember Conversations for support.