Paul Elso is no stranger to fundraising through facial hair.
The District 14 Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer said he has taken part in Movember about four or five times over the last 10 years.
“For me, it’s just about continuing to raise that awareness,” he said.
“We really need to reach the point where a mental health injury is no different to an injury on any other part of our body.”
This is the 17th year of the Movember campaign that encourages people to support men’s health, with many CFA brigades and individual members across the state already registered for the challenge.
Paul said it’s particularly important this year for people including CFA members to talk about their mental health.
“It’s been a tough combination of events; a massive fire season then straight into COVID, as well as other big things like fire services reform.
“It’s a big combination of pressures and we haven’t had our normal opportunities to talk or to be around each other.”
While the Movember campaign encourages people to grow a mo, the fancy facial hair isn’t the only way that CFA members are participating in Movember, with Mo-Bros and Mo-Sisters fundraising through fitness challenges, or by hosting virtual events.
Movember’s First Responders Challenge has also added some friendly competition to the fundraising efforts, but for Paul the most important aspect of the month is sharing the crucial messaging.
“If something doesn’t feel right or isn’t normal, chances are it’s not and you need to do something about it.
“Don’t ignore the signs and symptoms that you have. Seek the help that you need.”