Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

11.48 26 Oct 2020


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People are being encouraged to grow a moustache for the month of November as part of Movember.

The Lockdown - Shave Down - Get Down initiative aims to encourage healthy conversations surrounding mental health.

While Movember has traditionally involved men growing moustaches for the month, women can also take part by taking part in physical challenges.

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Movember 2020 ambassador Darren Kennedy said that while Movember was set up to tackle men's physical health, this year there is a greater focus on mental health.

The TV presenter explained on Newstalk Breakfast what the initiative entails.

He said: "The Shave Down kicks off on October 30th so that's when we're encouraging men who are participating in growing a moustache to shave clean.

"Then from November is when you get to grow it out in all its glory.

"That's the idea so you're doing something right throughout the month of November.

"If for work or for any other reason you can't grow a moustache, you can still get on board by doing something.

"Whatever it is for you, it could be going for a sea swim every day in the month of November or going for a 5km jog every day and building up to 60km over the course of the month.

"It doesn't have to be strictly speaking a moustache."

Darren said there is a focus on mental health this year which coincides with what has been a challenging time for everyone due to COVID-19.

He said: "When Movember started out, it was very much prostate and testicular cancer, and then a couple of years ago they realised mental health was really one of the huge big issues and suicide prevention amongst men.

"It just so happens that this year has been a testing year for everybody and I think anybody who would even consider themselves to have a very robust mental health, whatever that means, were finding it challenging this year.

"I think more than ever, charities like Movember need people to get behind them, and need their support.

"It is about having that conversation, picking up the phone and calling a biddy and seeing if he's ok and not letting people get isolated."

'Jolt in lifestyle'

Darren said that he has taken up sea swimming during the pandemic after finding the adjustment in lifestyle difficult.

He said: "For me, the big change was the massive lighting jolt of the change in lifestyle.

"I'm normally on the go and I travel a lot for work, and that just stopped.

"It was like running on a treadmill and the treadmill is knocked off but you're still running.

"It's only as the weeks went on that I realised I'd been running at a really fast pace and my struggle was slowing down.

"Linked to that, in my work you do meet a lot of people on a very regular basis.

"I'm always being introduced to new people and I really fed off that.

"So I struggled with that, the isolation, and the fact that I'd gone from maybe interacting with 100 people in work and that's all gone."

This led to Darren taking up sea swimming like a lot of people during the pandemic.

He added: "The sheer cold means that everything that's going on in your head and around you becomes secondary and you just focus on warming up and coming back into that present moment which is glorious.

"The second you launch yourself into the water everything lifts, and a few seconds later I'm just like, I'm so glad I did that, it shifts everything."

Movember

Darren said that people working from home means they have a great opportunity to have fun with Movember.

He added: "I think it's a little distraction, it's something that is raising funds and awareness for a really good cause and sure if anything, it'll give you a couple of minutes of distraction in the morning looking at your moustache."

People can sign up for the initiative at movember.com.

Main image: Darren Kennedy on the red carpet of the IFTAs in 2015. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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