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Too Hot To Handle - Meet The Kiwi Firefighters Stripping Down For Men's Mental Health

Half a decade since its departure, firefighters across New Zealand have set out to satisfy demand for the return of the traditional firefighters calendar.

The inaugural Kiwi Firefighters Calendar features 12 former and current serving firefighters from around Aotearoa baring (almost) all, to raise awareness of men’s mental health and wellbeing.*

Though these firefighters-turned-models may look natural in front of the camera, they’re stripping down to talk about another kind of vulnerability; that frontline workers, while typically seen as the epitome of resilience, are not invincible. Traumatic incidents, organisational stress and life challenges can impact even the most resilient of people. But resources and support are available, from organisations such as men’s health charity Movember, who is proud to be partnering with this brave bunch to bring the calendar, and its mission, to life.

Now in its 20th year, Movember's enduring work is rooted in urgently addressing the health disparities of men. Because in New Zealand, men die on average 4.5 years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons. Disturbingly, 3 in 4 suicides are male, and suicide is the leading cause of death in men aged 25 to 35 years old. Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in New Zealand, with more than 13,500 men living with or beyond prostate cancer in this country, and testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men in Aotearoa.

Calendar production manager and ‘Mr May’, Bevin James says, “A common perception is that firefighters are almost hero-like with no weaknesses and no fear. However, the reality is firefighters are vulnerable to trauma, anxiety and stress just like everybody else.

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“As a former professional career firefighter with over 10 years of service, I understand the toll working on the front line can have on first responders. This calendar was created with the intention to raise awareness of men’s mental health and well-being across society, in particular amongst first responders.”

Movember New Zealand country manager, Robert Dunne says, “A key part of mental wellbeing and suicide prevention is being physically active. This project is one where Movember and the team behind the Kiwi Firefighters Calendar have shared values on the importance of physical activity as a mental health tool, and acknowledge that for at-risk groups like first responders we must have targeted programmes.”

The inaugural Kiwi Firefighters Calendar is available to purchase online at kiwifirefighterscalendar.co.nz. Kiwis can grab themselves a copy for Christmas whilst supporting a great cause, with all profits donated to Movember.

Movember’s Impact

Movember's commitment to men's health over the past two decades has led to groundbreaking medical advances. Prostate cancer treatments that can destroy cancer cells without damaging surrounding healthy tissue and scans that can detect the smallest of tumours once they have spread outside the prostate. These inventions have contributed to a decline, of up to a third, in the prostate cancer death rate across five out of the six countries where Movember operates.

Movember’s work has got millions thinking about what it means to be a man. Harmful masculine stereotypes were challenged, and men learned to go beyond the banter, to open up, and to be more proactive with their health. They have lifted the profile of men’s health as something worthy of focus and action for millions worldwide. Now, Movember’s sights are set on showing how better men’s health can help make a better world for all.

The Mo is calling. How will you answer?

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