1 December 2019

In The Barber Chair: Liam Cotton

In 2009 I lost my Uncle and in 2017 I lost a close friend of mine, both unfortunately taking their own lives.
Mental Health | In the Barber Chair
What inspired you to share your story and take part in Movember?

In 2009 I lost my Uncle and in 2017 I lost a close friend of mine, both unfortunately taking their own lives. Both were male, of a young age, that should have had plenty more years to look forward too. After experiencing what is was like to lose a family member as well as a friend it inspired me to partake in Movember to help create and spread awareness for an issue in New Zealand that has been neglected for too long.
What impact did your experience have on your day-to-day life?

Both experiences were tough and did take their toll on day to day life. When my uncles passed away, I was probably at an age where I didn’t fully understand to the extent of what had occurred but seeing the way that it effected my family was testing at times even at a young age. After my friend passed away, I probably found this the hardest to deal with personally. Shortly after, I went away on my O.E playing cricket in the UK, being on the other side of the world, away from friends and family was extremely tough whist I was still grieving.
What strategies, tools, or therapies do you use to maintain your mental health?

I like to keep physically active, it’s a good way to catch a break for a while, as well as a good way to clear the head. I also like to socialize a lot with my friends and colleagues, whether it be going for a beer after work or for a coffee in the weekend, it’s a good opportunity to touch base and check in with how they are getting on.
Why do you think it’s more challenging for men to speak out about mental health issues?

I think that its more challenging for men to speak about mental health issues because they perceive it to be weak and it will essentially create a dent in their masculinity. Society has created this perception for far too long, it is only now that men are becoming more open to speaking up due to the large amounts of awareness that the Movember Foundation has been creating on a yearly basis.
What have you learned from your experience that you’d like to share with other men?

I have learnt from my experiences that it’s not weak to speak up. Everyone is going to have good days and bad days, but it’s just remembering that there’s always going to be someone there to help you through those challenging times. It may be a friend, it may be a family member, or it may even be a colleague from work, never forget that someone is always going to be there to have your back.
How do you participate in Movember?

I participate by Growing a Mo each year, during the past couple of years, my mates and I have got together a team and have raised close to $6k for Men’s Heath. Although, its not all about the money, its nice to know that a good sum of money will go towards people that need it the most and it shows that more and more people are willing to support such a great cause.
How has Movember changed the conversations you have with men in your life about their health?

Movember has changed the conversations I have with other men about their health. I have found the I am touching base with my friends a lot more, especially the ones that are living in a different city or region. I have also found that, I take all the opportunities I can to go visit them or plan/ get involved in trips away to various sporting/social events.