The Importance Of International Men’s Day:
On the 19th November the world celebrates International Men’s Day (IMD) with the aims to promote men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting male role models.
This year’s IMD theme in the UK is “supporting boys with their academic, employment, personal, social and health education” while continuing the attention needed on male suicide.
In the UK men are four times more likely to kill themselves than women, with (on average) 13 men dying from suicide every single day. The Samaritans 2016 Suicide Statistics Report shows there were 6,581 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2014, with the highest suicide rate being men aged 45-49 at 26.5 per 100,000.
Alongside this, the number of male abuse cases has also increased. Statistics from the ManKind Initiative shows that “13.2% of men state they have been a victim of domestic abuse since they were 16”, “These figures are the equivalent of 2.2 million male victims”, “4% of men […] were estimated to have experienced domestic abuse in 2014/15.”
We can see from the figures that lots of men are at risk of suffering from poor mental health and abuse. International Men’s Day encourages people, from all over the UK and the world, to open up and start a conversation about male suicide prevention and abuse.
Over the past few years, the number of cases regarding male domestic abuse has risen which shows how important International Men’s Day is. Today men are more open to talk about abuse compared to 20 years ago when male domestic abuse would not have been considered a thing. However, there is still a long way to go and a lot of stigma that needs to be broken through surrounding male mental health and abuse.
We are, more than ever, part of a world that is breaking traditional gender roles but as of yet many are still going strong. Many of these gender norms affect men in a negative way and that’s what International Men’s Day is about- breaking those norms for men to open up. IMD isn’t "misogynistic" as many organisations who claim to be feminist say. SBUK's view is that this is not the case and due to the stigma that's generated by these organisations, men are less likely to step forward. Feminism is about gender equality for all genders.
As sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, husbands, partners, male friends and family members, we owe it not only to ourselves but to each other to listen to each other and to talk about male suicide and abuse.
So this November 19th lets start a discussion on male suicide and abuse because no one should suffer in silence.