Posted: Mon 22 Nov 2021
As November draws to a close, a teacher from Holywell reflects on this year’s Movember fundraiser, which was an opportunity to raise awareness about men’s mental and physical health issues.
This is the fourth year that Darren Higgins, professor of physics at Ysgol Treffynnon, has led the school’s fundraiser for Movember.
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 goal 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, and Darren Gilbart and Paul Jennings, both computer technicians.
Not to be outdone, TAs Shell Reid and Sam Pritchard participated in Move for Movember, pledging to walk or run a specified distance during the month.
Darren said: “As in previous years, the in-depth conversations we have had with students about mental health and men’s health in general have been fantastic and very positive. The students fully understand why we do what we do and have been very supportive of us. “
“As staff, we recently undertook training to examine adolescent well-being, which is more important than ever in these times. “
“According to Coverdale data released in 2017, one in ten school-aged children had a mental health problem at some point and half of those started before the age of 14. I certainly think these numbers will only have increased because of the lockdowns and the impact of the pandemic. “
“That’s why here at Ysgol Treffynnon we run wellness courses for our students, looking at a wide range of wellness related topics. “
“Simple steps can always help support anyone, man or woman, struggling with health issues.”
A a conversation with someone with their mental health can really make a difference and with men’s health issues such as testicular cancer which is the most common type of cancer in young men, early diagnosis improves outcomes .
“When my cousin committed suicide it was devastating and shook us all completely. We had the idea that he had mental health issues, but he refused help when it was offered to him, so we missed opportunities to help him. “
“After going through the loss and shock of suicide, I wanted to do my part to make sure no other family had to go through this.”
“Too often men keep their feelings hidden, but a discussion with friends and family can help make all the difference, especially during those difficult times we’ve all been through. “
“I would like to thank the team for having joined me again in this adventure, because without them it would not be as successful.
“I would also like to thank all of the staff at Ysgol Treffynnon for their support of my little project and of course the wonderful parents of our students whose support I have been so grateful for again this year.”
Teachers have raised £ 130 so far but, as far as Darren is concerned, any money raised is a bonus as his main purpose is to ensure that important conversations about men’s health take place.
To support the team’s fundraising efforts, please click on this link: https://buff.ly/2JhINCG