Watch Hussain's poemImage by: Greg Williams Photography
Hussain and his mates
17 November 2021

Poet Hussain Manawer on his personal experiences with mental health

4 minutes read time

Critically acclaimed Poet Hussain Manawer is teaming up with Movember to reveal a moving video as he speaks powerfully on the impact of his personal experiences with mental health, in a bid to urge other men to speak out if they’re “not fine”.

" Depression has the power to hack nights & anxiety can snap ties "

This week, Movember hits the half way mark in the annual fundraising campaign and we're urging the nation to empower men to take care of their health. This comes as new research reveals that the gap between male and female life expectancy in the UK has begun to widen again, after narrowing steadily for almost four decades, reinforcing Movember’s call for a greater focus on men’s health and donations to help fund critical mental health projects that prevent men from reaching crisis point.

Hussain, who releases his debut poetry collection, Life is Sad and Beautiful on 12th May 2022, was most recently seen in Oprah’s Mental Health series on Apple TV and stars in this month’s Movember campaign, shot by Greg Williams.

Movember’s six steps to making sure men live longer

1 Notice change to both your physical and mental health and take action

You can increase your chances of living longer by dealing with any health problems quickly. If you’re worried about something, get it checked out, and if you’re offered screening, take advantage of it. Find out if your parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles suffered from any serious illness, especially if they died prematurely, and share that information with your GP.

Data from NHS England shows 12,000 fewer men received a first treatment for prostate cancer from April 2020 to May 2021 due to a drop in referrals. If you think something might be wrong, don’t be afraid to speak to your GP about it or seek a second opinion.

2 Know your cancer risk

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men, and in most cases the outcome for men with testicular cancer is positive, however early detection is key. Be sure to check yourself regularly – it’s as simple as carefully and gently rolling one testicle at a time between thumb and forefinger – the shower is a great place to do this.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer overall in UK men, and the risk of the developing it increases with age.

If you’re 50, you should be talking to your doctor about your prostate risk and whether you might need a PSA [prostate-specific antigen] blood test. If you’re black or have a family history of prostate cancer, you are 2.5 times more likely to get it, and will need to start that conversation at 45.

3 Take care of your mental health

A six-month research project* from Movember on the impact of the pandemic showed that three in five men (58%) suffered from poor wellbeing, and a third (29%) met the World Health Organisation’s criteria for depression. It also found more than half of men surveyed (54%) believe Covid has had a permanent impact on their mental health.

Movember encourages talking to people you trust when times get tough and speaking to a health professional when you need to. Confiding in someone about an issue that’s bothering you can help you stay mentally healthy. It isn’t a sign of emotional weakness – getting someone else’s perspective can help you see a situation in a new light.

In return, research suggests that supporting a mate in bad times also creates positive feelings in oneself, giving a feeling of purpose and self-worth.

4 Move more

The NHS recommends adults do some type of physical activity every day to reduce the risk of health problems such as heart disease or stroke. Not only does exercise benefit your physical health it also raises self-esteem and positively changes your mood.

Signing up to ‘move’ for Movember is a great excuse to kick start a new routine or motivation to continue with your current regime.

5 Get your jabs

Make sure to keep on top of your jabs as we head into winter.

Guidance from the NHS shows more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the pandemic. Additionally, if you get both Covid-19 and flu at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill.

Globally, men are significantly more likely than women to become seriously ill from Covid-19 and twice as likely to die from the disease. Yet in the UK, uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine is lower in men than in women.

The NHS recommends getting vaccinated against both flu and Covid-19, to protect yourself and those around you from both these serious illnesses, and if you are offered both vaccines, it’s safe to have them at the same time. The flu vaccine is free for some groups, including those over 50.

6 Donate to Movember

If you aren’t already taking part in fundraising for Movember, either by growing a moustache, moving over 60km in the month, hosting a mo-moment, or ‘mo-ing’ your own way, the charity now encourages those who can, to donate and/or spread the word, to help change the face of men’s health. Simply sharing something online could encourage a friend to reach out.

Visit to make a donation, thank you.