The Movember Foundation is the leading charity dedicated to supporting men’s health, and raises money to tackle prostate and testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.

Since 2003, more than five million Movember participants have helped to fund over 1,200 projects across 20 countries to help stop men from dying too young.

This year, Melbourne’s Queen of Cabaret Dolly Diamond has turned her attention to men’s health, and become an official Movember ambassador. We recently caught up with her to find out more.

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What motivated you to become a Movember ambassador?

I’ve known about Movember for some time and a friend of mine had started with the organisation, so after a bit of homework they felt like the right fit for me. I take the commitment to this sort of thing very seriously… when I get involved I want to try to effect change. I want results.

Your dad is your personal connection to this issue – and given the statistics, I’m sure many others would have a connection to it as well. Why are people getting tested too late?

My dad died from prostate cancer and he was a wonderful man. A wonderful man who didn’t feel the need to bother with doctors unless his arms and legs were falling off. It’s disappointing, but health doesn’t sit high on most men’s priority lists, at least until they’re older or when it’s started to get really serious. There’s a stereotype with some men that it’s not manly to talk about their problems, even when it comes to their physical or mental health… which is why I’m here.

Why is it important for men to take control of their health?

Men are dying too young – on average six years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons. I believe men deserve better when it comes to their health, but this won’t happen unless they step up to take control of the situation.

Movember also helps to raise awareness of suicide among men, something that affects queer men disproportionately. How can we take better care of our mental health?

1. Talking to friends about how you feel is so important. It really helps us to get to know ourselves a bit better, and to really articulate when things aren’t going well.

2. Eating well and staying active are really important, too – find your own routine and do what works for you, I’ve started an early morning walk club with a few friends and see Mr Pilates twice a week.

3. It can be tricky to know who to talk to and where to turn, even when things are fine. Stay in touch with the people you love and find ways to keep regular contact with people who make you feel good. It’s a two-way street – so be ready to help others, too. It’ll make you feel great.

4. Trying to find comfort in who you are is so important for your mental health. Acceptance and pride are key ingredients. One way to get there is to focus on the things you’re already doing well, and minimise the things that don’t make you feel good.

5. We’re all different, and so is our mental health. Whatever you do, keep checking in with yourself and keep talking and reaching out to others. Just remember that sometimes professional help may be needed, too

What will you be doing during Movember to help support the cause?

Aside from spreading the word thanks to good people like yourselves, I’ve signed up for Move at Movember.com to walk or run 60 kilometres over the month of Movember. That’s 60 kilometres for those six years the average man stands to lose from his life. I really hope people read this and that at least some of what we’ve talked about sinks in. I’m much better now when it comes to getting things checked out. I plan to live as long as possible and as well as possible. I’m even eating vegetables now… in my Bloody Mary.

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