The Importance of Movember

Throughout November, you may have noticed men up and down the UK growing moustaches. You may of thought that it was a new trend, but you’d be glad to know that it wasn’t. They were all raising money and awareness for ‘Movember’.

Founded in 2003, the charity focuses on male’s mental health and suicide prevention, prostate and testicular cancer and has so far funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world.

So every year, the month before Christmas, men are encouraged to grow moustaches such as the chevron, walrus, pencil or even the handlebar all to raise funds and awareness for men’s health.

The latest statistics from ‘Movember’ is that across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 75% of all suicides.

In relation to cancer, unchecked, prostate cancer rates will double over the next 15 years and globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men aged 15-39 years of age.

Our founder, Luke Newman, has participated in the awareness for many years. His Father, Steve, had testicular cancer at the age of 33 and Luke was just 4.

“It’s important for me to look ridiculous for a month”, Luke said. “It’s been over 35 years since my Dad found a lump and had successful treatment for his testicular cancer.”

Typical symptoms are a painless swelling or lump in one of the testicles or any change in shape or texture of the testicles.

The swelling or lump can be about the size of a pea or slightly larger. Most lumps or swellings in the scrotum are not in the testicle and are not a sign of cancer, but they should never be ignored.

Luke said: “It was on a Christmas Eve, I must of been 19 and having a bath, when I found a small lump. The natural first reaction is panic, but I know I had to get it checked out. I know, even though still rare, that I am four times more likely to develop it than someone with no family history of the condition, because of Dad’s previous diagnosis.”

“I immediately made an appointment with my general practitioner (GP), who then organised for me to visit the radiography department at my local hospital. Three weeks later, the radiographer examined my lump and cancer was ruled out. The procedure was completely pain free, however the lubricating gel that was placed on my scrotum was a bit cold though!”

Other symptoms of testicular cancer includes an increase in the firmness of a testicle, a difference in appearance between one testicle and the other, a dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go and a feeling of heaviness in your scrotum.

The best time to check yourself is after a warm shower or bath as your skin is most relaxed and should be checked at least once a month for lumps or swellings. Men get checking!

For more information on Movember, please visit https://uk.movember.com/

For Men To Talk: Who, What, When, Why?

My name is Luke Newman and I live in Central Bedfordshire, England. I’m 39 years old and a very happily married man and father of three terrific sons.

So from afar, you think that I should have a spring in my step and not a worry in sight. Well in a lot of aspects, that’s true and I feel great. But deep inside I have worries and that eats away.

That’s the problem with mental health. From an outsider’s point of view, you may see a smile on someone’s face or a joke made by the funny man in your group and think that they are perfectly happy. When deep inside, they could be struggling and won’t open up! That needs to change!

I’ve struggled since losing both my Mum and sister to cancer over the last 15 years. It’s left me with grief and also anxiety. The difference with me to other men, is that I’m open with it. I will tell people of my struggles and what has caused it.

I’ve had counselling and also undertook cognitive behavioural therapy and it certainly helped my mental health. CBT helped me to manage my problems by changing the way I thought and behaved.

I recognised that there wasn’t any groups for men just simply to talk. So in December 2019, I formed ‘For Men To Talk’. It would give gentlemen the opportunity to be comfortable to open up about their worries with other lads going through similar issues.

At the start of 2020, group meetings started in Jones Cafe in a small town called Biggleswade. I was shocked, I want to say delighted, by the numbers that attended. I was happy that it looked like an avenue had been opened for the nineteen men to communicate and informally talk about their mental health.

I purposely had no experts on hand, just leaflets and contact numbers for professional groups, such as the incredible Samaritans, CALM and Mind (all of which are also on our website). I wanted the men to feel relaxed, without any added pressure.

Over the next couple of meetings, numbers continued to rise. Then the COVID-19 pandemic occurred! The cafe closed and I felt lost. I didn’t want the meetings to lose its momentum, not only for then men who have been attending, but also for ‘For Men To Talk’ in general.

However, after being introduced to the video conferencing website/application, Zoom, we could continue the meetings, not just monthly, but on a weekly basis.

Every Wednesday, since the first lockdown, the group meetings have been attended by many men, trying to improve their wellbeing. As they are online, it is not just men from the local areas attending. Lads from Essex, Doncaster and even Wisconsin in the USA have found out and come on board.

We have also welcomed guest presenters discussing subjects such as dealing with grief, nutrition, exercise and the very important topic of men who have suffered from domestic abuse.

The virtual group meetings have proved successful. We will continue with them for the foreseeable future and until it’s safe to return to the cafe.

‘For Men To Talk is finally getting men to talk about their anxiety, depression and grief and showing that there is no shame in sharing their feelings. You can read some of the feedback on the testimonial page. http://www.formentotalk.co.uk/testimonials

One Man’s Journey with For Men To Talk

The following article has been written by an attendee from the ‘For Men To Talk’ group sessions. We can not thank them enough for their honesty and bravery in sharing their story.

‘For Men To Talk’ has been a shining light for me in real times of darkness. I was ‘one of those men’ that didn’t talk. I didn’t want to admit to myself and others that I wasn’t ok. I got to a point in my life where I hit rock bottom, which resulted in a mental health crisis that nearly ended my life.

This was the start of my recovery journey. For whatever reason, that to this day I still don’t know why I reached out, I knew I couldn’t carry on in a continuing cycle of deep depression and anxiety.

The anxiety came after my crisis. I had never really experienced it before or understood how crippling it can be.

I sought help to start with via The Samaritans and 999. From this point now looking back, was the most important choice I have ever made. I will be eternally grateful to those that came to me in my moment of need and this is where the recovery starts.

After a spell in the mental health unit at Peterborough Hospital for assessment, I was discharged to the care of the Crisis at Home Team. This only lasts for 7 days and this is where the struggle begins. I was put under the care of my General Practitioner (GP) and found that access to mental health support for men is hard to find.

I made contact with CPSL Mind and some local services via my GP. The issue I found that all the support was during the day, between the hours of 9am and 5pm, unless you needed that emergency support via 111 option 2.

Then the global Covid-19 pandemic hit. Everything was cancelled, I found that no support via face-to-face or online was immediately unavailable. This is where I personally feel that mental health services in the UK fail to catch those that need help when they need it the most.

The struggle for self-help is real, you really must fight with yourself and ‘the system’ to get help. You have to be strong to help yourself, but when you are just coming to terms with a mental health crisis the world is a very, very lonely place. I felt isolated and alone. I felt that I was the only person going through this and nobody else would understand.

I will never forget the day that I heard an interview on my local radio station. Luke Newman was talking about a group he had founded called ‘For Men To Talk’. All of a sudden I was not alone. Listening to Luke talking about his own experiences with depression and anxiety gave me hope that help was available. I contacted Luke straight after the interview and attended the next group meeting on Zoom.

My life has changed from this moment. I had found a place where I feel safe and secure. talking and listening with other men who have been or are going through a journey. ‘For Men To Talk’ has been an integral part of my recovery. With a recovery from a mental health crisis, it’s all about the cogs coming together. I have support from my GP in the form of medication, I’ve been lucky to find a great therapist and to have support from my family, but the one constant is ‘For Men To Talk’.

It’s not just the weekly chat on Zoom, it’s the support network it has formed for me. We all chip in to be a sounding board, to offer tips of things that have worked for each other.

I think it’s important to understand that it’s not a counselling session. It’s a place to feel safe, to feel secure and to have the freedom to talk or just to listen.

‘For Men To Talk’ was set up in December 2019 by Luke Newman.

It’s a chance for men suffering with anxiety, depression and grief to talk with other fellow sufferers trying to end the stigma of men to keep quiet and have a ‘stiff upper-lip’.

Please check our website for details on

In August 2020, ‘For Men To Talk’ was announced as a non-charitable limited company, which is a benefit to the community!

Company number: 12788063.