Introducing Building Modern Men, Guest Edited By Andy Murray

13/09/2016 09:17
PETER PARKS via Getty Images

By the end of today in the UK about 12 men will have died at their own hands. It happened yesterday and it will happen tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that too. Actually, there's no indication of when it will stop.

There's a reasonable chance you might be related, work with or are in a relationship with one of these men. The hurt will last for years and the reasons why may never be surfaced. Lives will be measured in terms of pre and post the suicide event. It's a pattern which will repeat endlessly.

Suicide among men is an epidemic that we are only starting to face up to. Figures show that 76% of lives lost to suicide in the UK are male.

In fact suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 and it's a scandal not more is being done to understand what is going on.

Suicide is very much a male issue, with men almost four times more likely than women to take their own life, but the reasons why are unclear.

This November HuffPost UK will dedicate the entire month to talking about the mental health and wellbeing issues that impact on the lives of men in our Building Modern Men series.

Using the hashtag #buildingmodernmen we will discuss the problems, causes and also most importantly the solutions to the stigma surrounding the UK's mental health crisis among men.

The series will have the overall goal of trying to reduce the number of male suicides by getting to the core of issues and helping men to start talking about the things which can lead to stress, anxiety and making the desperate decision to end their life.

We will also be joined by current Wimbledon Champion and Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray who will guest edit the initiative. He said: "I'm looking forward to working with the Huff Post UK guys on the Building Modern Men project.

"There are plenty of worthwhile and important issues and it will hopefully make a positive difference to many people's lives."

Finding solutions is a core value of The Huffington Post globally, which we express through our What's Working approach to news. What's Working is about consistently telling the stories of people and communities doing amazing things, overcoming great odds and coming up with solutions to the very real challenges they face. By shining a light on these stories, we hope to scale up these solutions. That's our aim with #buildingmodernmen.

We are also partnering with charity The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). On Saturday its director Jane Powell wrote in a blog for the HuffPost UK:

"In 2012 the government announced a commitment of £1.5million for suicide research. This figure is less than the estimated cost of one single suicide in the UK.

"To put this in context, there were more than 6,000 suicides in 2014, so suicide is now costing us in the region of £10billion a year. The £1.5million spend on research was not unwelcome, of course, and many important initiatives were identified. But not a penny was spent asking the question 'why men?'.

"The assumption is that it's all too easy to understand the gender bias in suicide. Remember those lazy truisms?

"Men drink more, visit the doctor less, and take more fatal methods. And yet the female suicide rate has halved since the early 1980s. The problem doesn't then appear to simply biological. We have to go beyond these surface indicators and ask what is really going on."

She also told me: "Telling men to reach out for help isn't enough. We're proud to be partnering with The Huffington Post for the 'Building Modern Men' campaign.

"We're looking forward to exploring what it means to be a man and the complex issue of suicide, the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK."

There's a lot of learning for us all to do.

Despite being one of the most pressing problems facing modern Britons, 76% of the population said they didn't even know the relevant mental health policies of the parties standing for government.

That one single fact has acted as an inspiration to my editorial team to try and make a difference to people's lives by kickstarting a conversation around mental health issues.

Last February The Huffington Post UK launched Young Minds Matter - it was guest edited by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and formed a part of our strategy to talk about mental health issues among young people.

At The Huffington Post UK we believe how we talk about this issue must to be a two-way conversation.

That's why we're encouraging readers to join in by sharing their own views, opinions and experiences on our blogging platform so we can all talk about how we can all start #buildingmodernmen.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is a registered charity, which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK. Call 0800 58 58 58 or visit
  • The Mix is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email:
  • HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41