Flintshire school’s popular Movember fundraiser highlights men’s health issues
A Holywell teacher reflects on his school’s Movember fundraiser which this year, more than ever, he feels is so important as a reminder for people that it’s okay to need help and support.
This is the fifth year that Darren Higgins, a physics teacher at Ysgol Treffynnon, has led the school’s fundraising drive for Movember, an opportunity to raise awareness of men’s mental and physical health issues.
The initiative is close to his heart after the devastating experience of losing his cousin to suicide several years ago.
Now a global campaign, Movember started in Australia in 2003 with the aim of saving and improving men’s lives through projects focused on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.
Darren was joined in the campaign by fellow science teachers Matt Warwick and Steve Holmes, as well as Darren Gilbart, IT technician; Tom Foulkes, Welsh teacher; and Mark Seale, director of learning.
He said: “As in previous years, the in-depth conversations we have been having with students about mental health and men’s health more generally have been fantastic and very positive. The students fully understand why we are doing what we are doing and have been very supportive.
“It feels like this generation of young people are having one challenge after another. We had Covid-19 and now that’s (mostly) behind us, we have the war in Ukraine as well as the cost of living crisis. This is having a toll on the young people in the area, and Movember is a good way of reminding the people around us that it’s okay to need help and support, and that every staff member in Ysgol Treffynnon is always there to offer that help and support.
“More personally, it’s still a way to remember my cousin who committed suicide, which was such an awful shock and completely shook us all. We had an idea that he was struggling with his mental health, but he turned down help when it was offered and therefore, we missed chances to help him.
“After experiencing the huge loss and shock associated with suicide, I wanted to do my bit to make sure that no other family has to go through that. All too often men keep their feelings bottled up, but a chat with friends and family might help make all the difference, particularly during these difficult times we’re all living through.
“Simple steps can always help to support anyone, man or woman, struggling with health conditions. A conversation with someone suffering with their mental health can really make a difference and with men’s health conditions such as testicular cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in young men, early diagnosis makes outcomes so much better.
“I’d like to say a huge thanks to the whole team for their support during Movember, but also to the wider Ysgol Treffynnon staff for their time and compassion; they are truly a great team to be with. I am also immensely grateful to our students, parents and carers whose response, once again, has been fantastic.”
The teachers have raised £279 so far but, as far as Darren is concerned, any money raised is a bonus as his main objective is to ensure that important conversations around men’s health and general wellbeing take place.
To support the team’s fundraising efforts, please click on this link: https://buff.ly/2JhINCG
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