ITV racing presenter Chris Hughes and Flat jockey Kieran Shoemark have spoken about their struggles to encourage others to do the same.
The pair have teamed up with Movember, the first official charity partner of QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot (19 October), to raise awareness of men’s health issues.
Kieran, who has served a suspension from racing following a failed drugs test nearly a year ago, explained how opening up was the turning point for getting his life back.
“I certainly struggled to open up, I kind of didn’t know how to,” he said.
“I spoke to many people because I was forced to. They knew something was up and I didn’t really know myself. Sometimes you can’t even recognise it yourself and other people spot it before you.
“Since I asked for help, I can’t stress how drastically my life has changed beyond mine and anyone’s recognition.”
Chris and Kieran were talking in the Movember Man Van, which will be at Ascot on Saturday offering men’s health advice, free haircuts and shoe shines.
“Kieran and I have had quite different experiences but we both found that opening up and talking about what we were going through was the best thing we could have done,” said Chris, who did a stint on Love Island and is now a presenter on ITV Racing.
“As men we do sometimes feel like we can’t be honest or show our vulnerability but the sooner you open up, the better. Hopefully by sharing our stories we can encourage other men to seek the help they might need.”
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Movember is a charity that aims to challenge the way men’s health is approached and supported.
Prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention are among the areas the charity is addressing.
Since 2003, it has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects globally and is aiming to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25% by 2030.
“We’re proud to have Movember as the official charity partner of QIPCO British Champions Series and for the Movember Man Van to be on course for QIPCO British Champions Day, helping to raise awareness about the vital work they do tackling the biggest health issues facing men,” said British Champions Series chief executive Rod Street.
“With free haircuts and much more on offer, I hope everyone is able to stop by to enrich what will already be a fantastic day.”
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