Nobody has sung at me. I wasn't woken up with gifts, or breakfast in bed. I doubt there'll be a cake, unless the cafe at work decides it needs to use up all the eggs before the weekend. I'm going to work, and I'm continuing on with my day. But I am celebrating. I am celebrating harder than I celebrated my 21st birthday.
The truth is that men will speak to their barbers about things they wouldn't tell anybody else. The #BarberTalk program is being developed alongside top charities Papyrus and Pieta House to train barbers how to Recognise, Talk, Listen and Advise their clients. With this, comes the responsibility to remain confidential, provide a safe haven for clients and help them where necessary.
She had married at eighteen, was a mother at twenty-one. She was still in her twenties when the 1960s came along, still young enough to embrace the excitements of the new age. She fell in love with a colleague, but when she revealed this, I learned of the pressures that society and her family put upon her to give up the affair. She was sent to see a psychiatrist, was told, as iconoclastic women have been told through the ages, that she had lost her senses.
My brother and I saw Dad a few weeks prior to his death. We watched Star Trek: Into Darkness and he was fine; he looked good and appeared happy. I always thought of comedy as a way to help the healing process and to make awful things seem less awful, so I sometimes joke about how the movie was so bad it drove my father to suicide.
Men are far less positive about getting formal emotional support for the issues outlined above. Worryingly, in response to these difficulties, men are more likely to take risks such as drinking, fighting or gambling, trying to show that they are 'manly' when faced with adversity. In fact, this is likely to make their situation worse. The masculine ideal suggests that men should never be depressed, anxious or unable to cope. It is vital that we overcome this and encourage men to access informal and formal support earlier on, before they reach crisis point. With all this in mind, where do we go from here?
I thought long and hard about whether or not to write this blog post, for fear of being ridiculed by men, or trolled by feminists, some of whom might feel I am disrespecting the cause. But actually, what is a feminist if she is not somebody who feels she can speak up about the issues important to her?
I know, for many reading this, it is very hard to understand suicide; ultimately, for me, I felt defeated and to carry on living seemed too much. Depression is a continuous, painful battle which is so much more than feelings of sadness or being low. Depression creates a sense of worthlessness, hopelessness and despair.
The research into Alzheimer's and dementia is one of the most prevalent problems of this decade and these are brain diseases so why should depression or bi-polar be any different? If the government don't put funds for mental health in this budget at the end of November, it won't happen for a long time and the suffering and lack of help will continue.
We need to get to the point that men feel as at ease talking about their mental health as they would a broken arm. We need to help men equate seeking help not with weakness, but with doing something that shows courage and strength. It is, after all, profoundly brave to face up to something as stigmatised as a mental health problem. Ultimately, we have to acknowledge that big boys can and do cry. And that's okay.
November, it seems, has become of the unofficial month of men across the world. Movember has become a big deal for raising awareness about cancer, International Men's Day day takes place on 19 November and throughout the month The Huffington Post UK will be partnering with the Being A Man festival, which takes place at London's Southbank Centre. There's a lot of good issues related to being a man, but by starting a conversation about the tough ones too means there's a huge opportunity to create something wonderful. None of us should be worried about championing men or applauding and rewarding them. Let us be inspired by the great man Herbert Spencer who I mentioned earlier and work together make a society a place that enables us all to start building modern men.
Perhaps this stupid stigma can be dropped. Perhaps you could fund the NHS for better preventative care so conditions like cancer and depression are treated equally. Perhaps then it won't take six months for the right diagnoses to be passed or for a crisis to happen. Perhaps if we target these things in our communities we can prevent some of those 6,233 deaths?
I loved telling him that out of everything in the world, he was my favourite. He was my rock as I tried to validate myself and grab at any chance to climb the slippery corporate ladder. I wish that I'd spent more time with him rather than at my desk, doing monotonous hours of what I now see as meaningless work.