As we head into "Movember" the unofficial male month of the year it's important we direct our energy towards men's issues and the difficulties men might face during their lifetime. From suicide to racism, slavery to discrimination towards under-privileged white men, Movember is a fantastic opportunity to explore topics that affect so many.
Suicide is perhaps the most frequently discussed issue when we refer to men's issues or health and looking at the statistics it's easy to see why. Four in ten men aged 18-45 have thought about suicide. Last year men accounted for 76% of all suicides in the UK, the year before they accounted for 78%. Suicide is at a 14 year high. Professor Green's BBC documentary: "Professor Green: suicide and me" recently explored the effects of suicide on those closest to those at risk. A fantastic hard-hitting documentary, Professor Green fully explored what are the causes of male suicide and how anxiety in men can fester. Having suffered personal loss as a result of suicide, Green perfectly highlighted how suicide in men is something of a silent killer with less than half of men affected by depression receiving treatment for it.
Green's documentary also highlighted the complexity behind the reasoning for wanting to commit suicide. The Movember Foundation highlights how whilst anyone, of any age can be affected by poor mental, many men find it difficult to share their problems. Trying to remain strong and silent, many men avoid getting the support they might need as they might be trying to remain strong for others. This is further affected by societal stereotypes: as often the sole providers of income many men are often burdened by the pressure of ensuring they provide for families. Earlier this year psychologists from Canterbury Christ Church University, Kings College London and Men's mind matter conducted research into why men are less likely to seek psychological help. They found that masculinity, alexithymia and fear of intimacy where the most common factors that affected men's attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. These factors hindering a man's likelihood of seeking further help.
Further research has suggested that men hold the belief that they should be reluctant to seek help because that's the manly way to behave. Taught from a young age that boys don't cry and that 'boys will be boys' creates an endless cycle of fear to speak out and seek help. It's not only damaging to men's health but in some cases can contribute towards suicide attempts. 'Campaign Against Living Miserably' (CALM) has highlighted in their "Year of the Man" campaign how there is a strong overlap between causes relating to male suicide, making some circumstances more difficult for men to speak out.
So as Movember gets into full swing be a part of the campaign to raise aware of men's issues. Joining up with Lynx, CALM has created a #BiggerIssues campaign to highlight how male suicide needs to be discussed more openly and frankly and how the discussion must be heard on a larger scale. Visit their website now to join their thunderclap. Also make time to speak with others about men's health issues and raise awareness of the campaign on social media and with your friends and family. Above all be a friend and a shoulder to lean on to all: don't judge a book by its cover as you haven't heard the full story inside.
If you need to speak to someone about the topics covered in this article please call:
CALM: 0800 58 58 58
Mind: 0300 123 3393