International Men’s Day: Helping Men Talk About Being a Man

International Men’s Day: Helping Men Talk About Being a Man


International Men’s Day on Thursday 19th November will provide a national platform to help men talk about men’s issues, say supporters.


The annual day aims to improve gender relations; focus on men’s health and wellbeing; promote male role models; celebrate the contributions men make to their communities; highlight the challenges men face and create a safer world for everyone.


This theme for International Men’s Day 2015 is “Making a Difference for Men and Boys”.


A historic three-hour cross party Parliamentary debate1 is taking place on male suicide and International Men’s Day will see issues that adversely affect men, such as male suicide, debated in the House of Commons for the first time.


One of the key initiatives this year is a new social media campaign designed to help men talk about male suicide, launched by the charity CALM in partnership with the men’s grooming brand Lynx.


The #BiggerIssues campaign aims to provoke conversations about men’s issues by juxtaposing comparatively trivial topics that are getting a huge amount of public attention with the issue of male suicide. More people are talking about vegan meatballs, recently tweeted about by Professor Green, for example, than are talking about male suicide.


There’s a serious point behind the campaign, with 13 men now dying by suicide every day in the UK, there is an urgent need to find new ways to help men talk about the issues they face.


According to Jane Powell, CEO of the suicide prevention charity, CALM:


“There is a crisis in masculinity, where men feel unable or unwilling to get help even when they are hit by catastrophic life events, bereavement, divorce, job loss or similar. And until we can break down those barriers that prevent men accessing the help and support they need, we will struggle to cut the number of deaths.”


Glen Poole, UK Co-ordinator of International Men’s Day says:


“Celebrating International Men’s Day is just one way to encourage more people to find creative ways to help men talk about men’s issues. Research into men’s help-seeking behaviour shows that men are more likely to get help when it is socially acceptable for people to talk about the issue they are dealing with. This is why it is essential that people in positions of power, influence and trust use events like International Men’s Day to talk about men’s issues.”


An event that’s taking a different approach to helping men talk about gender issues is Being A Man (BAM), Southbank Centre’s annual festival that explores the challenges of masculine identity in the 21st Century.


This year’s festival features over 150 speakers and performers including transgender boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, comedians David Baddiel, Jeremy Hardy and Frankie Boyle, rapper Akala, 2015 Man Booker Prize winning author Marlon James, DJ Gemma Cairney and actors Jason Isaacs and Charlie Condou. The festival has been scheduled to take place the week after International Men’s Day on 27-29 November .


Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said:


“Men are often under pressure to demonstrate heroism, be daring and ‘man up’. Events like International Men’s Day and Southbank Centre’s Being a Man festival are helping men to investigate what conflicts the modern man faces in a world where everything is changing: work, family, image and gender balance. This year BAM will provide a unique opportunity, amidst all the debate about men, for men themselves to come together to share stories, discuss the pleasures and challenges of being men, and look at what kind of world they want for themselves and others.”


This year, for the first time ever, MPs will hold a debate in Westminster Hall to discuss “Male Suicide and International Men’s Day”, sending an important message that talking about men’s issues can be a normal everyday conversation.


The debate was called for by a broad range of charities and professional bodies including CALM, The Samaritans, Rethink Mental Health, The British Psychological Society and The British Association of Social Workers.


Dan Bell, features editor of the online magazine insideMAN which is publishing a series of men’s personal stories in the run up to International Men’s Day said:


“As a journalist who regularly interviews ordinary men, my experience is that all men have personal stories that they want to share. But being heard is a two-way process. It involves speaking and listening. For too long now men have either not spoken about their experiences of being male, or have not been listened to when they have spoken out. International Men’s Day is an important platform for helping men taken about their everyday experiences of being a man.”




Notes to Editors


1          Westminster Hall Debate (1.30pm): Male Suicide and International Men’s Day (Philip   Davies MP)