Research tells us that some men tend to use alcohol as a long term crutch to get them through tough emotional times, and they are less likely to seek help unless they reach a crisis. This means that by the time someone comes to the attention of NHS or other support services they may already be dealing with complex and entrenched problems.
Think MacGyver, Superman, and Liam Neeson's character in Taken, whose entire (fictional, but still) lives are based on unusual, exciting, daring episodes. So many men physically crave challenging themselves and feeling heroic and resourceful but so few of them know where to begin on setting out on adventure.
When I mention that I am interested in finding ways to give men and boys a voice, one of the first reactions is often, "why do men need a voice? Aren't virtually all powerful and public voices already male?" But in my experience, men are rarely given the opportunity to speak publicly about the issues that affect them as men.
If I am a 'Man' - let alone a HuffPost Man - why do I spend my time playing with toys for a living? Why are two of the three tabs on my browser open to Lego.com? Why do I so enjoy watching cartoons featuring comical dogs and signing up for pointless feats of strength? And why am I holding, as I write this blog, a lime-green NERF SlingFire Anti-Zombie shotgun - in the office?
In 2004 I embarked, somewhat foolishly and naively, on a journey to write a trilogy of books about masculinity. In 2013 the third book was published, I sighed in relief, they had consumed nine years of my life. During the writing hiatuses I would tour a one-man show in which I experimented with concepts and ideas for the books. Those were tough times.
Global rates of suicide are up 60% since World War II. By 2030, depression will outpace cancer, stroke, war and accidents as the world's leading cause of disability and death. Although twice as many women suffer from depression and many more attempt suicide, nearly four times as many men die from suicide every year. Why?