Supporting Men’s Mental Health this International Men’s Day
Sunday 18th November marked International Men’s Day. The day forms part of November which is men’s health awareness day. It is oft quoted that one of the big differences between men and women and their respective health outcomes is that men tend to go to the doctors or seek support less often. One week after Remembrance Sunday, we reflect on the tragic outcome of these potentially undiagnosed men suffering in silence with mental health conditions and ultimately committing suicide. We know from our own clients that on average we see approximately 10% more women than men and this reflects the wider picture of less men seeking support for mental health conditions that ultimately drives that fact that 76% of suicides victims are male.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and it disproportionately impacts on poorer families, male suicide rates increased from 2007-2013 where they peaked at 17.8 cases per 100,000 of population. The rate has been dropping since it’s peak in 2013 “for deaths registered in 2016 in Great Britain, persons aged 40 to 44 had the highest age-specific suicide rate at 15.1 per 100,000 – this age group also had the highest rate among males at 23.7 per 100,000; the age group with the highest rate for females was 50 to 54 at 8.1 per 100,000.” ONS Statistics
It has been very positive to see so many campaigns encouraging people to take action to support those around them to talk about mental health. It is often seen as unmanly as it is perceived that men are meant to be strong and that mental health is viewed as a weakness. This acts as a significant cultural barrier to them seeking help for common mental health conditions. We particularly like the following campaigns and encourage you to find out more.
- Samaritans – Small Talk Saves Lives. This partnership with National Rail has seen adverts appear in the Metro and on platforms to highlight that simply chatting to someone who appears anxious or unwell might be the act that prevents them from taking their own life. In the UK approximately 3.5% of suicides involve someone jumping in front of a train, it’s worth noting that in the US this number is almost 0 and thus this campaign will hopefully go some way to reducing the number as we also know that this particular method of suicide adds considerable trauma to those witnessing such violent deaths.
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
- #ChangeThePicture. A campaign which aims to challenge the gender stereotypes that reduce the number of men seeking help for mental health issues asks men to share pictures which show them changing the picture for what it means to be a man in today’s world and hopefully breaking down stigma and helping men come forward when they are suffering.
- #ManYourLocal. A second campaign from CALM to encourage men to start conversations about mental health and how they are feeling down the pub.
- Instagram itself has recently launched a hashtag #HereForYou to encourage people to share their mental health stories and be there for each other. It was certainly encouraging to see men share their own stories on #InternationalMensDay